From Montreal, at a meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
New research raises the possibility that antidepressant drugs may be depressing wild-mussel populations.
Freshwater mussel communities are declining in U.S. waters for reasons that remain poorly understood. Scientists at North Carolina State University in Raleigh wondered about a possible antidepressant link after another research team showed that pregnant zebra mussels, if they're exposed to extra serotonin, release nonviable larvae. Serotonin is the brain chemical boosted by antidepressant drugs such as fluoxetine, the active ingredient in Prozac.
Sewage-treatment plants fail to completely remove fluoxetine and most other drugs, which then can pollute U.S. waters (SN: 6/17/00, p. 388: Excreted Drugs: Something Looks Fishy).
To test the vulnerability of wild mussels to these drugs, the North Carolina researchers collected pregnant females