Bonefish off the coast of Florida have tested positive for numerous pharmaceutical drugs, according to a new study.

Source: WESH 2 News/Youtube

The study was conducted over three years by researchers at the Florida International University and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of bonefish and tarpon. The researchers found pharmaceutical contaminants in the blood and other tissues of bonefish in Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys, according to the University’s news release.

Since the beginning of the study, they have found an average of seven different pharmaceuticals per bonefish and a horrifying 17 pharmaceuticals in a single fish. The list of medications includes blood pressure medications, antidepressants, prostate treatment medications, antibiotics, and pain relievers. They also believe that many of the fisheries around the area have been exposed, which makes this an even bigger public health issue.

“These findings are truly alarming,” said Jennifer Rehage, a coastal and fish ecologist and associate professor at the University. “Pharmaceuticals are an invisible threat, unlike algal blooms or turbid waters. Yet these results tell us that they are a formidable threat to our fisheries, and highlight the pressing need to address our longstanding wastewater infrastructure issues.”

According to the University, approximately 5 billion prescriptions are filled each year in the U.S., but there are still no environmental regulations for the disposal of the drugs worldwide. These contaminants come most often from human wastewater that is not sufficiently cleaned by water treatment. The drugs can remain active at low doses and can affect fish behavior and negatively impact their reproduction and overall survival.

All kinds of aquatic life are affected by drugs in the water. This is just further proof of the pollution caused by humans and our poor waste habits. These cocktails of drugs are extremely toxic to underwater life, and we need to work towards better environmental regulation surrounding prescription drugs.

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