Continuous low level exposure to antibiotics can allow bacteria to
There is no way that people in Texas could be excreting enough prozac to
have a physiologic effect on fish. Perhaps a cumulative toxic effect,
or other low-level effect, but I doubt that it is possible to get the
concentration high enough to have an antidepressant effect.
On Sun, 2003-10-19 at 10:27, Denkhaus, Robert wrote:
> This was printed in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (AKA "Startle-Gram")
> Rob Denkhaus
> Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
> Drug found in area fish stirs concern
> By Scott Streater
> Star-Telegram Staff Writer
> Researchers at Baylor University have found traces of an antidepressant in the
> livers, muscles and brains of bluegills in a Denton County creek, raising
> concerns about the welfare of the fish and the people who eat them.
> The chemical, fluoxetine hydrochloride, is the active ingredient in Prozac. It
> likely came from a city of Denton wastewater treatment plant, which discharges
> into Pecan Creek and flows into Lewisville Lake. Traces of the drug that are
> not absorbed into the body can flow down the toilet and through wastewater
> treatment plants, which are not designed to filter out pharmaceuticals.
> Fluoxetine and other antidepressants affect fish in roughly the same ways they
> affect people, said Bryan Brooks, a Baylor toxicologist who led the study.
> It relaxes them.
> "Maybe it makes you a happy fish and you're kind of hanging out," Brooks said.
> "But how does that influence your ability to capture prey? Do you instantly
> become candy for largemouth bass because you're accumulating large amounts of
> Prozac in your system? These are areas where more research is needed."
> Brooks will present the results of his study next month in Austin at the
> annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
> It's believed to be the first study to determine that antidepressants in the
> water can accumulate in biological tissue, raising the possibility of
> long-term health and behavioral problems in fish, said Marsha Black, an
> aquatic toxicologist at the University of Georgia at Athens.
> "That's really a significant finding," said Black, who's using a federal grant
> to study the health effects of fluoxetine and other antidepressants in fish.
> "This opens up the door and says these things are important."
> Eli Lilly and Co., which manufactures Prozac, has a material safety data sheet
> for fluoxetine hydrochloride on the company Web site. Under environmental
> information, the data sheet states that the chemical is "moderately toxic to
> fish and highly toxic to invertebrates and green algae" and can be considered
> persistent in the environment because of its low rate of biodegradation. The
> data sheet also states that the chemical has low potential to accumulate in
> aquatic organisms.
> Brooks' latest research comes on the heels of recent studies he helped conduct
> while a graduate student at the University of North Texas. That research
> indicated that some male fish in Denton County are developing female
> characteristics because estrogen from prescription drugs is winding up in the
> water. The estrogen -- from birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy
> and other sources -- could reduce the fish population by rendering some males
> unable to breed.
> The issue has garnered national attention in the last few years. In a U.S.
> Geological Survey study last year, 80 percent of the 139 streams sampled in 30
> states, including Texas, contained small amounts of pharmaceutical drugs,
> hormones, steroids and personal-care products like perfumes.
> "It's very common," said Herbert Buxton, coordinator of the Geological
> Survey's Toxic Substances Hydrology Program. "What this tells us is that these
> wastewater pathways are worthy of a lot more study."
> Brooks' study raises a number of questions. Among them:
> * Can these pharmaceuticals pollute drinking water supplies?
> * What are the health effects of eating fish contaminated with
> * If fluoxetine is in the bluegills in Pecan Creek, might it also be in the
> tissues of other species in other waterways?
> Brooks said he has expanded the research to include catfish and black
> He said Pecan Creek was chosen as the site of his study because it receives as
> much as 13 million gallons a day of treated wastewater from Denton's Pecan
> Creek Water Reclamation Plant.
> During the dry summer months, the wastewater from the plant comprises all of
> the creek's water flow, said Kenneth Banks, Denton's water resources programs
> Brooks said the pharmaceuticals in the creek are coming from the wastewater
> "I think it's got to be," he said.
> Pecan Creek drains into Lewisville Lake, which supplies drinking water to the
> cities of Dallas, Denton and Lewisville. But researchers say it is extremely
> unlikely that the antidepressant could get into the drinking water supply, in
> part because the wastewater plant is several miles away from the lake.
> "After that distance, it's virtually impossible that it would show up in
> potable water supplies," Banks said.
> Federal and state environmental regulators do not regulate pharmaceuticals in
> water supplies because they have not been proven to harm fish and other
> aquatic life.
> But the findings of Brooks and other scientists could change that policy. The
> Environmental Protection Agency is evaluating the need for formal
> recommendations for disposing of old drugs to keep them out of the water
> supply. The Food and Drug Administration is studying similar action.
> If it can be confirmed that pharmaceuticals are moving untreated through
> wastewater plants, sewer plant operators could be required to begin
> controlling these discharges. That could necessitate the addition of new
> technology costing millions of dollars and could have a tremendous impact in
> North Texas.
> The Trinity River basin, which runs from north of Fort Worth-Dallas to near
> the Houston metropolitan area, is the most developed watershed in the state,
> with numerous large wastewater treatment plants.
> The Trinity River Association, a public utility created by the Legislature in
> 1955, operates four large wastewater treatment plants in North Texas that
> discharge into the watershed.
> "It's very early, but the implications are potentially serious," said Richard
> Browning, senior manager of the Trinity River Association's planning and
> environmental management division.
> "If they come out with a clear connection, then everybody will be looking at
> how to get it out of the water. Then the regulations would flow very
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