Between the Starbucks headquarters and growing 20-something population, it’s no secret that a lot of coffee is consumed in the Pacific Northwest. However, that doesn’t make it any less surprising (and mildly humorous) that the surrounding ocean is becoming mildly caffeinated.
According to National Geographic, the potentially contaminated coastline had about 45 nanograms of caffeine detected per liter. Levels further off the coast were below any detectable limit, which is around 9 nanograms per liter. The higher levels were also near sewage-treatment plants, large communities, and remote waters.
Despite the leap in numbers, this isn’t anywhere near actual coffee levels, so you don’t have to worry about coming face-to-face with a shark suffering a caffeine headache. The average cup of coffee has 500,000,000 nanograms of caffeine per liter.
There’s not enough information available just yet to show if this amount of caffeine will have any harsh effects, but it does go to show how easily humans can leave a mark just by undergoing day-to-day activities. At least it’s undeniable that this is a human-made problem so it’s easier to find a solution, but until then, we can all hope that Portlandia does an episode about this.
Image CC licensed by angsthase