Anxiety medications flushed down toilets in our pee causing heightened appetite and boldness in fish. Soon the global water supply will be a giant soup of antidepressants. Via the Los Angeles Times:
Pharmaceuticals may be affecting the behavior of wild fish as [the drugs] filters out of our bodies, through our toilets and into treated wastewater that is released into natural water sources, according to a new study.
The findings, which examined the effect of trace levels of the anti-anxiety medication oxazepam on wild European perch, have implications for the survival rates of fish and the delicate food web in aquatic ecosystems.
Scientists have known for years that such “micropollutants” end up in natural waterways like streams and rivers after being flushed through human systems into wastewater. But current research hasn’t really looked at whether psychotherapeutic drugs can affect the behavior of aquatic creatures.
The researchers’ findings could well reflect reality in waters worldwide: Their low concentrations in the lab were roughly equivalent to levels found in wild fish in the River Fyris in Sweden. The study may require humans to rethink the idea of pollutants, lead author Tomas Brodin, a researcher at Umea University in Sweden.