Researchers have been finding trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in rivers and lakes. Now, a new report suggests that the presence of Prozac in water bodies might be endangering freshwater mussels. Celeste Headlee has details:
A new report suggests that the presence of Prozac in natural water systems can increase
the risk of extinction for freshwater mussels. Celeste Headlee has details:
Many freshwater mussel species are already highly endangered. Experts say about 70
percent of the 300 known species of mussel in North America are extinct, endangered or
declining. Authors of the new study say even trace amounts of anti-depressants like
Prozac are dangerous to mussels because they interfere with reproduction.
Prozac and other prescription medications are flushed into sewer systems and then
released into rivers and streams. Researchers placed female mussels carrying larvae into
tanks with various concentrations of Prozac. Within two days, all of the mussels had
prematurely released their larvae, which then died.
The authors of the study say new wastewater treatment procedures might have to be
developed to filter out prescription and over-the-counter drugs before they reach
For the Environment Report, I’m Celeste Headlee.