Medicine residues found in US fish

Fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major American cities contained residues of pharmaceuticals, the Associated Press reported, citing a Baylor University study. The residues came from medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression, among other illnesses.

The study was the first nationwide examination of human drugs in fish tissue. Researchers tested for 24 pharmaceuticals, as well as 12 chemicals found in personal-care products. Their findings have prompted the federal Environmental Protection Agency to expand similar ongoing research to more than 150 locations in the United States.

Bryan Brooks, co-author of the study, said he hoped the average person will “see the importance of us thinking about water that we use every day — where does it come from, where does it go to? We need to understand this is a limited resource and we need to learn a lot more about our impacts on it.”

An individual would have to eat hundreds of thousands of fish dinners to get even a single therapeutic dose of medicine, Brooks said. But he and other researchers have found that even extremely diluted concentrations of pharmaceutical residues can harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species because of their constant exposure to contaminated water.

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