This article is about fish behavior in drug polluted water. Minuscule amounts of medicines are showing up in rivers. Drugs have been discovered in the waterways of several countries over the past ten years. The prevalence of the watered-down medicines is attributed to drugs passing through bodies in unmetabolized form. Current water treatment plants are not designed to remove the drugs, so the “cleaned” water that is pumped back into the streams has traces of the unmetabolized drugs. In 2008, the Associated Press stated that the water consumed by at least 51 million Americans contains low doses of many common drugs. Additionally, there are currently no limits on pharmaceuticals in waterways.
The article goes into the studies that were conducted to determine fish behavior after being given low concentrations of drugs. The fish had obvious side effects. That doesn’t surprise me, but the alterations in behavior could have a significant impact on the ecosystem all the way down the food chain to zooplankton and algae. Researchers said it’s unlikely people would be harmed by the water issue. One person would need to consume 4 tons of perch to ingest the equivalent of one pill. However, I don’t think that includes the every day water consumption. I would think if 51 million Americans drink water with traces of drugs they would already be exposed to more than one pill. I liked this article because I had never considered this aspect before. I never thought about drugs getting into the waterways and changing fish behavior. I thought it was surprising that there are no regulations on pharmaceuticals in waterways but if studies like this continue, I feel like that is likely to change.