Fish Near Water Treatment Plants are Harmed by Human Drugs

fish fishing photo

Photo: Flickr, CC

By now must of us have heard about how drugs that are thrown away or that simply pass through our metabolic system and end up in toilets can find their way into ecosystems. But to better do something about this problem, it helps to know more about it, to have quantitative studies and make a priority list.

water treatment plant photo

Photo: Flickr, CC

Via Discovery News:

Fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major U.S. cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them, including medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression, researchers reported Wednesday.

Findings from this first nationwide study of human drugs in fish tissue have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to significantly expand similar ongoing research to more than 150 different locations. [...]

researchers including Brooks have found that even extremely diluted concentrations of pharmaceutical residues can harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species because of their constant exposure to contaminated water.

The co-author of the study, Bryan Brooks, a Baylor University researcher and professor, had this comment:

"The average person hopefully will see this type of a study and see the importance of us thinking about water that we use every day, where does it come from, where does it go to? We need to understand this is a limited resource and we need to learn a lot more about our impacts on it."

Right on. More attention has been paid to oceans recently (though not nearly enough relative to their importance), but we must not forget other water systems that are also affected by pollution.

More details at Discovery News.

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