Fish On Drugs: Cocktail Of Medications Is ‘Contaminating Ocean Food Chain’

While I’m on the topic of planetary pollution (when am I not these days):

Fish On Drugs: Cocktail Of Medications Is ‘Contaminating Ocean Food Chain’


Study in Florida finds ‘widespread’ traces of a total of 58 medications including heart drugs, opioids, antidepressants and antifungals in increasingly rare bonefish and their prey.

In 56% of fish, researchers detected pharmaceutical quantities at levels “above which we expect negative effects”, according to the study. One bonefish sampled in Key West tested positive for 17 pharmaceuticals – eight of them antidepressants that were up to 300 times above the human therapeutic level.

The researchers also studied 125 animals that bonefish prey on, including shrimp, crabs and small fish. Each contained an average of 11 pharmaceutical contaminants, indicating that the contamination is not limited to bonefish.

Nearly 5bn medications are prescribed annually in the US alone, and the average American has about 12 prescriptions a year. Pharmaceuticals reach the water in various ways, including through manufacturing and rainwater run-off, but human and livestock wastewater is one of the main causes – especially what humans send down the toilet.

“Though most contamination is screened out at sewage treatment plants, it’s very hard to remove some of these pharmaceuticals from the water,” Silverstein says.

“This is one of the first studies to go into marine coastal environments and over a large area to show that pharmaceuticals are everywhere.”

This is just drugs. There’s also pesticides, PFAS, heavy metals, plastics, and on that these researchers didn’t measure. Imagine, one fish, 300 times the human therapeutic level of antidepressants!

This is the ocean, not some contained inland pond. You would think the drugs would be diluted. Not enough.

Fish are some of the dirtiest foods you can eat. Maybe it won’t be a problem in the future, there won’t be any left.

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