Fish in many waterways are loaded with antidepressants due to our increasing use of these drugs, according to a study by professor Sebastien Sauve of the University of Montreal. “Residue from antidepressants leaves through bodily waste and ends up in our waterways. Sauve said that his study indicates that the problem of antidepressants contaminating marine animals is probably global.” Waste water treatment plants are not able to filter these chemicals.
The study found that brook trout in the St. Lawrence river have large quantities of antidepressants in their livers and brains, and much smaller amounts in their muscle tissue. Even very small concentrations of pharmaceuticals in waterways have been linked to significant changes in those ecosystems.
The problem of pharmaceuticals in our rivers is not new. Reports of intersex smallmouth bass in the Potomac River have raised the possibility that this is linked to chemicals from pharmaceutical and personal care products.