What’s in the WateRx: New study finds ‘massive cocktail’ of prescription drugs in South Florida bonefish – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(WSVN) – We’ve all heard of the opioid epidemic, but a new study reveals that these same drugs, and more, are leaching into the sea. ‘water ? Karen Hensel of 7 shows us.
South Florida is famous for its beautiful water, fun in the sun, and some of the best fishing in the world.
But, the reality is that our paradise has a secret under the surface.
Dr Aaron Adam, Director of Science and Conservation, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust: “Yes, this is very concerning.”
Researchers from Florida International University and the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust have teamed up to test Biscayne Bay bonefish in the Florida Keys.
They tested 93 fish, and each of them was contaminated with pharmaceuticals, including drugs like antidepressants, heart medications and painkillers.
Dr Aaron Adams: “We weren’t surprised there were pharmaceuticals in the fish, but the number really blew us away: seven on average per fish. It’s a pretty massive cocktail.
A huge cocktail with a prescription for trouble.
Dr Aaron Adams: “To find a fish that had, I think it was 17 pharmaceuticals in a single fish, I can’t even imagine the changes in the brain chemistry and physiology of that fish. Imagine if you went to your pharmacist. The first thing the pharmacist would do would be to check the interactions between these different drugs. Bonefish do not have this option.
Although you must release any bonefish caught in Florida, researchers believe the problem in the water is also impacting other marine species.
Dr Jennifer Rehage, CRF Coastal Fisheries Research Laboratory: “We sampled small crabs, small fish and small prawns in particular, the ones we actually eat in the bay, and we sampled those as well, and these contained even more pharmaceuticals. ”
So how is it going?
When we take drugs, what our bodies don’t metabolize is flushed down the toilet to Florida’s old sewage treatment plants.
Dr Jennifer Rehage: “These plants were designed in the 60s and 70s to manage nutrients and human waste. They are not designed to deal with these high-end pharmaceuticals.
This means that the drugs are not filtered before flowing from sewage treatment plants to the ocean.
Dr Jennifer Rehage: “We can also think about the human side, the fact that we have all these unknowns about what it means to be exposed to pharmaceuticals for long periods of time at low doses. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be exposed to these drugs without a choice.
The concern is not just for human health, but also for Florida’s economic health.
Recreational saltwater fishing brings in $9.2 billion a year to the state.
Dr Aaron Adams: “A lot of the pharmaceuticals in these bonefish affect behavior, and that behavior will have repercussions. They are probably eaten by predators more frequently. This could affect their spawning migrations.
Dr Jennifer Rehage: “Our goal was not to alarm people, but to let people know that this is another aspect of water quality.
So what about the Florida fish we eat?
The researchers say they are certain that when they test other fish, they will find pharmaceuticals. The question is, how many different drugs and at what level?
For more information on the CRF and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust study, click here.
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