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New Study Shows that Anti-Anxiety Meds in Waterways Alter Wild Fish Behavior

Posted By Lidija Grozdanic On February 15, 2013 @ 5:19 pm In Animals,environmental destruction,News,Water Issues | 1 Comment

wild fish study, pharmaceuticals waterways, wastewater pharmaceuticals, oxazepam fish, Umea University, scientific research, fish behavior study, environmental destruction, water pollution, marine life destruction [1]Photo via Shutterstock [2]

A new study has shown that pharmaceutical drugs polluting the world’s waterways may significantly change the behavior of wild fish [3]. A study of wild perch found that the presence of a widely prescribed anti-anxiety medication called oxazepam makes the fish more mellow but also more antisocial and vulnerable to predators—which could have a notable ecological impact.



wild fish study, pharmaceuticals waterways, wastewater pharmaceuticals, oxazepam fish, Umea University, scientific research, fish behavior study, environmental destruction, water pollution, marine life destruction [4]

All kinds of drugs regularly get into the water supply [5] when people flush unneeded medication down toilets or pass trace amount in urine. Previous studies have demonstrated that pharmaceuticals typically found in the water supply can alter a fish’s behavior as well as its ability to reproduce. This new investigation by researchers at Umea University in Sweden was the first one to study environmental impact of a benzodiazepine. Also, it was the first to demonstrate behavioral changes in aquatic creatures from concentrations of pharmaceuticals close to those found in nature.

The researchers collected wild European perch [6] from a pristine lake in Sweden. They exposed one group of perch to 1.8 µg/L of a benzodiazepine, oxazepam, for seven days. According to the researchers, this level of drug resulted in the fish having a muscle tissue concentration of oxazepam similar to that found in perch living in a river fed by Swedish wastewater treatment [7] facilities. The fish that swam in water saturated with oxazepam became more active, less sociable and ate at a significantly faster rate.

Via LA Times [8]

Images from Wikimedia Commons [9]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/new-study-shows-that-anti-anxiety-meds-in-waterways-alter-wild-fish-behavior/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2013/02/perch-pharmacutical-pollution.jpg

[2] Shutterstock: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-79857193/stock-photo-perch-close-up.html

[3] wild fish: http://inhabitat.com/a-fish-named-obama-to-honor-the-president/

[4] Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2013/02/595px-Oxazepam3d.jpg

[5] water supply: http://inhabitat.com/melbourne-water-encourages-australian-citizens-to-build-10000-rain-gardens/

[6] perch: http://inhabitat.com/blue-forests-beautiful-eco-perch-treehouse-lets-you-live-life-amongst-the-trees/

[7] wastewater treatment: http://inhabitat.com/wastewater-treatment-plant-in-san-francisco-is-a-gorgeous-indoor-wetland/

[8] LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-anti-anxiety-oxazepam-drugs-alter-fish-behavior-perch-20130214,0,2430018.story

[9] Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abborre.jpg

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