The question may not be whether or not they’re lurking in your water, but rather how much there is and what implications this may have on our health.
A study funded by Health Canada and published online in January 2011 has revealed that anti-depressant drugs are now passing into the waterways and affecting fish. Dr. Sébastien Sauvé at the University of Montreal’s Department of Chemistry and André Lajeunesse, a PhD candidate, led the research team and found that the drugs are accumulating in fish tissues and are affecting the fish’s brain activity.
The St. Lawrence river is a major international waterway that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, and it surrounds the island of Montreal. It is reported that one in four people in Montreal take some form of anti-depressant medication. Sauvé has been looking at the chemical pollution of the water system for years. He explained, “… The chemical structure of anti-depressants makes them extremely difficult to remove from sewage, even with the most sophisticated systems available.”
The findings are internationally significant as the city’s sewage treatment system is similar to that in use in other major cities, and moreover, it is reputed to be the third largest treatment system in the world.