Researchers have detected antidepressant drugs in the brains of fish captured downstream of sewage-treatment plants.
Pharmaceuticals taint waterways because people excrete many of the drugs they take but treatment plants don't extract all the chemicals (SN: 4/1/00, p. 212: More Waters Test Positive for Drugs). Concerned that antidepressants might be accumulating in fish, Melissa M. Schultz of the College of Wooster (Ohio), and Edward T. Furlong of the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver measured concentrations of several such medicines in river water and fish in Colorado. They tested for drugs including sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac), and venlafaxine (Effexor).
Sertraline and fluoxetine, two of the most widely prescribed antidepressants, showed up downstream of sewage-treatment plants but only in low parts-per-trillion concentrations. To the researchers' surprise, they found several less commonly prescribed antidepressants in significantl