Great Lakes Fish Full of Antidepressants

It seems that fish in America’s Great Lakes don’t have to worry about dealing with depression. A recent study of ten different species in the Lakes have found significant levels of antidepressant drugs in their brains. Though this may sound somewhat funny, it is actually a serious problem.

Millions of Americans take these medications every day to treat anxiety and depression. Small amounts of the drugs end up being excreted into toilets and flushed away as wastewater. The wastewater treatment plants are not able to completely remove the medications from the water, and they wind up in America’s rivers and lakes, where fish consume them.

all-that-is-interesting.com

Rather than simply lifting the moods of fish, these medications present an existential threat to them. Previous research has shown that shrimp can become suicidal when exposed to antidepressants. These shrimp swim toward the light instead of away from it, making them more vulnerable to predators.

No shrimp were studied in this latest batch of research involving Great Lakes species, but the medications can have similarly bad effects of the fish that were tested. These drugs can cause fish to become lethargic to the point that they are no longer interested in hunting or breeding. They can also cause fish to ignore the presence of predators, leading to them becoming prey more often than they should. This could have a devastating impact on biodiversity in the Lakes.

Fortunately, the levels of the antidepressants found in the fish are not high enough to pose a danger to humans. So, it is still safe to eat fish from the Great Lakes for now, especially since the drugs are concentrated in organs that people don’t eat, such as the brains of the fish. There is a real threat to the fish living there, though, and to other animals in the ecosystem that depend on them. In addition, the region’s multimillion dollar fishing industry could be severely affected by a reduction of species.

Since more and more people start taking these important medications every year, it is clear that something needs to be done to get them out of the water. Scientists say that new methods of water decontamination need to be developed that are capable of removing antidepressants from wastewater. Currently, treatment plants don’t even screen water for the presence of these drugs, so that would be a good starting point. But the researchers point out that nothing is likely to be done until the government mandates that a solution be found. Until then, medications excreted by humans will continue to find their way to our freshwater systems, and ultimately to our fish.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • President Jefferson’s Murderous Sheep

    Presidential pets often become as famous as their owners. There have also been a wide range of animals kept as White House pets, from an alligator to a wallaby to everything in between. One presidential pet stands out, though, but not because of its species. This pet is memorable because of its murderous temper. Thomas...

    Read More
  • The Plague That Caused People to Dance Themselves to Death

    On an otherwise unremarkable July day in early 16th century Strasbourg (now in France), a woman known as Frau Troffea ran into the street and began dancing. There was no music being played, and it wasn’t a holiday or day of celebration, yet, for reasons unknown, she felt compelled to dance. She continued her solo...

    Read More
  • The Plastic-Eating Caterpillar That Could Help Save the Planet

    An amateur Spanish beekeeper recently made a discovery that could have a major impact in our planet’s fight against pollution and global warming. While tending to her beehives, she removed some wax worms from them, since they are pests that are parasitic towards bee colonies. To get rid of them, she put them in an...

    Read More
  • This Town Has Been on Fire for More Than 50 Years

    The borough of Centralia is located in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. In the late 1800s it was a thriving anthracite coal mining town with a population of close to 3,000, but as of 2013 the population is no more than seven. The diminished population is the result of an underground coal...

    Read More
  • The World’s Most Glamorous Train

    The Orient Express has been noted as being the world’s most glamorous train, but how did it get that title?  Well, the story of The Orient Express takes off in the 1860’s when the concept of globetrotting tourism was still fairly new.  For years, the ultra-rich had been the only people that could afford to...

    Read More
  • The Earliest Evidence of Wine Making

    This new find definitely deserves a grand toast. Scientists have just recently discovered what is now to be considered the oldest known winemaking site on record. Archaeologists have just recently discovered ceramic jars which have shown evidence of winemaking during an excavation of two Neolithic sites called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora. These sites are...

    Read More
  • Remarkable Future Mars Robot

    Reported to take off in only three years, making it the year 2020, a robot that is larger than an SUV will be blasting off from planet Earth to Mars.  The plan is to have this new robot mildly parachute down onto the red planet’s surface.  It will be guided at the end of its...

    Read More
  • Tiny Grasshopper Discovered in Van Gogh Painting

    Who doesn’t love a good mystery from over one-hundred years ago?  In recent mystery news, there was a tiny grasshopper discovered in one of the paintings of Van Gogh, being hidden from one-hundred and twenty-eight years ago.  Wonder what it all means and who discovered this tiny grasshopper?  We may never know the true meaning...

    Read More