Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Bathing in a Soup of Anti-depressants

And you thought global warming was a problem…. You thought that heating up the oceans was going to damage marine life and deprive the world of sushi. Think again....

Regardless of how true or false that is, we now learn that our waters are being polluted with anti-depressants. It’s the cost we all pay for failing to do enough exercise. As noted in a post yesterday, more exercise means less depression. Less depression means fewer anti-depressants.

More anti-depressants means more pollution. As it happens, the problem is most acute in Once-Great Britain, a nation that counts among the world leaders in the use of these medications. The United States, you will be unhappy to know, lags only slightly behind Once-Great Britain.

The Daily Mail has the story:

Rising use of antidepressants is turning our waters into a ‘drug soup’ and harming marine life, experts warn.

People in Britain use more antidepressants than almost every other country in the Western world.

But the drugs can cause havoc in the natural world after they pass out of the body of the person taking them in the form of urine and faeces and enter the water supply.

Effects include the chemicals causing limpets to lose their ability to cling to rocks, as well as shrimp swimming towards areas populated by predators.

If you want to save the planet, you should begin by working to save the limpets and the shrimp.

The Anglosphere is awash in the stuff:

One in six adults - more than seven million people in England alone - take antidepressants.

In the US, this number almost as high as a proportion of the total population at just over one in seven.

A league table of anti-depressants published last year put the UK at fourth of the 29 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, up from seventh in the year 2000.

Professor Alex Ford, of Portsmouth’s Institute of Marine Biology, said: ‘Our aquatic life is bathing in a soup of antidepressants.

Would you want to bathe in a soup of anti-depressants?

‘Antidepressant and antianxiety medications are found everywhere, in sewage, surface water, ground water, drinking water, soil, and accumulating in wildlife tissues.

‘They are found in sea water and rivers and their potential ability to disrupt the normal biological systems of aquatic organisms is extensive.

‘This isn’t about a one-off pollutant entering their habitat; wildlife are bathed in drugs for their entire lifecycle.

'Laboratory studies are reporting changes such as how some creatures reproduce, grow, the rate at which it matures, metabolism, immunity, feeding habits, the way it moves, its colour and its behaviour.’

There goes the neighborhood.

In the meantime, researchers are acutely aware of the fact that some people will read this story and become seized with anguish over what they are doing to the crustacean population. They will want to flush all of their Prozac down the toilet, the better to save Mother Nature. Not only is this bad for Mother Nature, but, I trust you know this already, it is a bad idea to go cold turkey on SSRIs. Any such decisions should only be taken on the advice of a physician.

The Daily Mail concludes:

The researchers caution patients that medication should not be stopped without first seeking medical opinion.


David Foster said...

OT: Stuart, a while back you linked & discussed an article on the elimination of the British Corn Laws and the impact thereof. I have a related discussion here: Tariffs, Trade, and the British Corn Laws


Sam L. said...

I hope that marijuana isn't getting into the oceans, too. Wigged out clams, oysters, shrimp, and fish... That horrifies me.

Texan99 said...

This makes me glad our house runs on a rainwater cistern. We should be OK unless the troposphere gets too depressed by news of its always-imminent warming trend and starts to take antidepressants too.