Pharmaceutical drugs have infiltrated rivers around the world, new study finds

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Pharmaceutical pollutants have seeped into rivers around the world, causing a major pollution problem in our waterways, according to new research.

Source: TRT World/Youtube

An assessment published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry of more than 1,000 sites spanning more than 104 countries found that 43.5% of these waterways contain levels of active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs, of concern.

During the production of pharmaceuticals, APIs can be released into waterways. Of 61 APIs studied, the concentrations of 23 exceeded safe levels. Researchers found components of commonly used drugs like antidepressants, beta-blockers, antimicrobials, pain relievers, antihistamines, etc.

“This is the first truly global assessment of the impacts of single pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical mixtures in river systems,” co-author Alejandra Bouzas-Monroy said in a statement.

“Our results show that a very large proportion of rivers around the world are at risk from pharmaceutical pollution. We should therefore be doing much more to reduce emissions of these substances into the environment.

They found that rivers in Africa had the highest percentage of sites where API concentrations exceeded PNEC levels. North America was found to have the lowest. This is mainly due to differences in wastewater management and treatment and the presence of pharmaceutical manufacturing, according to the authors.

A recent study carried out over three years by researchers from the Florida International University and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT), found pharmaceutical contaminants in the blood and other tissues of bonefish in Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys. Since the study began, they have found an average of seven different pharmaceuticals per bonefish and 17 horrifying pharmaceuticals in a single fish. The list of drugs includes arterial pressure medication, antidepressantsmedicines for the treatment of the prostate, antibioticsand painkillers. They also believe that many fisheries in the region have been exposed, making it an even bigger public health concern.

All types of aquatic life are affected by drugs in the water. This is just further proof of the Pollution caused by humans and our bad waste 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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