Mar 27, 2009

Pharmaceutical Residues Found in Fish Samples

Fish sampled near wastewater plants in five major cities were contaminated; results prompting more research

Researchers have reported that pharmaceutical residues have been found in samples of fish near wastewater treatment plants in Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Orlando, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The study is the first nationwide examination of human drugs in fish tissue, and has prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to expand research of contaminated fish to take more samples in more locations.

The fish were contaminated with medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression, the AP reported.

Researchers have found that even very small concentrations of pharmaceuticals can harm aquatic life because they are constantly exposed to the contaminated water. Humans, however, would have to eat hundreds of thousands of fish dinners just to get a single dose of the pharmaceuticals, said study co-author Bryan Brooks, researcher and professor at Baylor University.

"The average person hopefully will see this type of a study and see the importance of us thinking about water that we use every day. ... We need to understand this is a limited resource and we need to learn a lot more about our impacts on it," Brooks said.