Thursday, March 26, 2009

Drugged Up Fish Found Near Water Treatment Plants

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....

A person would have to eat hundreds of thousands of fish dinners to get even a single therapeutic dose, Brooks said. But 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....

...tested fish caught in rivers where wastewater treatment plants release treated sewage in Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Orlando, Fla....

Much of the contamination comes from the unmetabolized residues of pharmaceuticals that people have taken and excreted; unused medications dumped down the drain also contribute to the problem.

They found trace concentrations of seven drugs and two soap scent chemicals in fish at all five of the urban river sites. The amounts varied, but some of the fish had combinations of many of the compounds in their livers.

In an ongoing investigation, The Associated Press has reported trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals have been detected in drinking water provided to at least 46 million Americans.

The EPA has called for additional studies about the impact on humans of long-term consumption of minute amounts of medicines in their drinking water, especially in unknown combinations. Limited laboratory studies have shown that human cells failed to grow or took unusual shapes when exposed to combinations of some pharmaceuticals found in drinking water.

7 comments:

David E. Perry said...

Dear Lord, what have we wrought?

Les said...

Maybe we could make this to our advantage and just seed the waterways with the most popular pharmaceuticals and then harvest the fish.

Susan Tomlinson said...

One of my students was telling me that ibuprofen was a big problem, too.

WiseAcre said...

My doctor told me to take two fish and call him in the morning if my third eye didn't go away by then.

Rosemarie said...

I read about this too and it made me sad/mad that we're causing all of this. But all of our destruction will just bite us in the a$@ soon enough.

Pam said...

I was involved in a study recently looking at anaerobic and aerobic metabolites of cocaine degradation - it seems that you can estimate how much coke is being consumed in a particular community by the amount of certain cocaine metabolites in the communities sewage treatment plant...

There's a group at the lab where I work that looks at pharmaceuticals in drinking water - pretty amazing - almost makes one think that we might all be on prozac (just different doses).

Benjamin Vogt said...

Pam--Oh I don't need to hear more truths about the water supply. Oh no no no. The cocaine thing is interesting--I bet the Nebraska water out here is filled with ethanol. Do humans eating corn produce ethanol as a byproduct?