Study – NBC 6 South Florida

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A study found that pharmaceutical drugs were found in fish located in Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys. Scientists said it’s an alarming finding and it’s because the drugs come from our homes straight into the water.

“When we see so many pharmaceuticals in an ocean fish that lives in our coastal waters, it becomes cause for concern,” said Aaron Adams, science and conservation director for Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.

Researchers from FIU and the nonprofit have been working on a study testing bonefish in South Florida for years.

They tested nearly 100 fish and found an average of seven pharmaceutical drugs per fish, even finding 17 in a single fish.

“Imagine going to your pharmacy with a list of 17 different pharmaceuticals that your doctor prescribed for you, the pharmacist would freak out,” Adams said.

Some of the medications found included painkillers, heart medications and antidepressants.

Bonefish are only caught and released in Florida. But Adams said they are economically and culturally important throughout the region.

“When you consider the fact that recreational fishing in Florida is worth over $10 billion a year and thousands of jobs, tourism…that should be enough,” he said.

Adams added that the next steps must be to find a solution. He fears there is a huge possibility of wider implications like the drugs that end up making their way into our drinking water.

“We know the problems and we know the solutions. We know we need to update our wastewater treatment systems as well as municipal wastewater treatment. And it can be done,” Adams said.

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