A study done at Portsmouth University shows prawns found in contaminated English waters were under the influence of antidepressants which altered their marine behavior. Scientists are becoming more aware of how an overabundance of pharmaceuticals are seriously polluting our bodies of water. I've written about pharmaceuticals in our drinking water before. We've become a nation dependant upon drugs. For better or worse, we use pharmaceuticals for everything from getting to sleep to waking up. But what happens to these drugs once we're done with them? A recent study discussed their impact on British waters. Pristine Planet talked about these Prawns Getting High on Prozac.
According to researcher Alex Ford:
Drugs are partially broken down in the treatment process but what we are realizing now is that a lot more gets through than we thought. The treatment plants weren't designed to break down medicines so some inevitably get concentrated [and] released into streams or onto beaches. Effluent is concentrated in river estuaries and coastal areas, which is where shrimps and other marine life live - this means that shrimps are taking on the excreted drugs of whole towns.
The research team tested the prawns by exposing them to the same level of prozac found in British waters and found that while prawns normally find sanctuary in dark places, these sedated shrimp were five times more likely to swim towards the light becoming more vulnerable to predators. The effects of other pharmaceuticals like hormones, pain relievers, and heart medicine are still unknown.