Thursday June 6, 2024

The Guardian

From brown trout becoming “addicted” to methamphetamine to European perch losing their fear of predators due to depression medication, scientists warn that modern pharmaceutical and illegal drug pollution is becoming a growing threat to wildlife.

Drug exposure is causing significant, unexpected changes to some animals’ behaviour and anatomy. Female starlings dosed with antidepressants such as Prozac at concentrations found in sewage waterways become less attractive to potential mates, with male birds behaving more aggressively and singing less to entice them than undosed counterparts.

The contraceptive pill has caused sex reversal in some fish populations – leading to a collapse in numbers and local extinction events as male fish reverted to female organs. Scientists have said that modern pharmaceutical waste is having significant consequences for wildlife exposed to discharges in their ecosystems, and warned it could have unintended consequences for humans.

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