13:35 17 February 2013
Scientists have found that antidepressant residues that are being flushed into rivers from sewage works alter fish behaviour.
According to the report, perch that were exposed to extremely small concentrations of Oxazepam, which is widely used to treat anxiety, became less sociable, ate faster than before, and were bolder compared to fish that were not exposed to the drug.
Scientists warned that pharmaceutical compounds released into aquatic environment poses bigger problems that we realise. Thus, it’s important that something must be done in order to degrade the chemicals before they reach the fish.
Jerker Fick of Umeå University said: “The solution to this problem isn't to stop medicating people who are ill but to try to develop sewage-treatment plants that can capture environmentally hazardous drugs.”
“These drugs are not toxic or harmful in small doses, and are used to treat patients for therapeutic reasons. So there has not been that much research into what it does when it gets into our waterways.”
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