It doesn’t matter the size of the fish whether big or small all are being found with antidepressants in their brains. The prescriptions infecting the fish brains are Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, and Sarafem. So how is this happening? Apparently, it’s in the water they swim in.
A study published by The Journal of Environmental Science and Technology details this alarming find.
The major pollutants observed were the antidepressants (citalopram, paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine, and bupropion, and their metabolites norfluoxetine and norsertraline) and the antihistamine diphenhydramine.
The antidepressants were ingested by various fish species at different trophic levels and were further metabolized once inside the fish. It was not only the brains that became infected but also the liver, muscle, and gonads.
This study evaluates the concentrations and bioaccumulation of PPCPs and the selective uptake of antidepressants in fish from the Niagara River, which connects two of the North American Great lakes (Erie and Ontario)
The team of researchers from near and far found these drug ingredients in a variety of fish big and small, such as smallmouth and largemouth bass, rudd, rock bass, white bass, white and yellow perch, walleye, bowfin, and steelhead.
How did the lake get filled with antidepressants? It is believed that it originated from urine. The urine goes down the toilet. Then the urine full of antidepressants goes to several different water treatment plants sitting along the Niagra River.
The Niagara River receives PPCPs from different wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) situated along the river and Lake Erie.
The plants usually do not filter out for antidepressants and so the treated water (with the drugs) makes it into the Niagara River.
So how many of us are taking antidepressants? According to an article in Scientific American 1 in 6 Americans takes a psychiatric drug. And per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of Americans taking these drugs are on the rise.
It is unclear what effects the antidepressants will have on the fish.