Fish off the coast of Florida test positive for many pharmaceutical drugs, new study finds

According to a new study, bonefish off the coast of Florida have tested positive for numerous pharmaceutical drugs.

Source: WESH 2 News/Youtube

The study was carried out over three years by researchers from the Florida International University and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT), a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of bonefish and tarpon. The researchers found pharmaceutical contaminants in the blood and other tissues of bonefish in Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys, according to the university’s press release.

Since the study began, they have found an average of seven different pharmaceuticals per bonefish and 17 horrifying pharmaceuticals in a single fish. The medication list includes blood pressure medications, antidepressants, prostate medications, antibiotics, and painkillers. They also believe that many fisheries in the region have been exposed, making it an even bigger public health concern.

“These results are truly alarming,” said Jennifer Rehage, a coastal and fish ecologist and associate professor at the University. “Pharmaceuticals are an invisible threat, unlike algal blooms or murky waters. Yet these results tell us that they pose a formidable threat to our fisheries and underscore the urgent need to address our long-standing wastewater treatment infrastructure problems.

According to the University, approximately 5 billion prescriptions are filled each year in the United States, but there are still no environmental regulations for drug disposal worldwide. These contaminants most often come from human wastewater that is not sufficiently cleaned by water treatment. Drugs can remain active at low doses and can affect fish behavior and negatively impact reproduction and overall survival.

All types of aquatic life are affected by drugs in the water. This is just more evidence of human-caused pollution and our bad littering habits. These drug cocktails are extremely toxic to underwater life, and we need to work towards better environmental regulations surrounding prescription drugs.

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Alvin J. Chase