Gallery: Streams Polluted by Pharmaceuticals Show Signs of Stress


Photo via Shutterstock

Much of the world’s human population has some sort of pharmaceutical running through their veins, and as it turns out, so does the planet’s streams and rivers. According to a report published in Ecological Applications by the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, drugs and other chemicals have found their way into the freshwater supply and are affecting the health of the ecosystem. The study looked at six common compounds and how they altered the aquatic organisms that create the slippery “biofilm” that covers rocks. Scientists found a dramatic decrease in algal photosynthesis and respiration as well as a change in the bacterial community.

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