That dose of Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Zoloft or Zyban doesn't disappear once you swallow it.(Text and image credit to the StarTribune)
Some of it flows through your body into toilets, sewer lines, wastewater treatment plants and eventually into lakes and rivers.
Multiply that by millions of people, and tons of diluted but biologically active drug residues end up in the drink...
Scientists at St. Cloud State University [are] studying what happens to fathead minnows when they're exposed to antidepressants. The results have been surprising.They've found that fish eggs and hatchlings doused with drugs are more laid back than those raised in cleaner water. That may be a death sentence in nature; they could be gobbled up by larger fish before they can escape...
...those exposed to antidepressants for five days as eggs or during 12 days after hatching were almost twice as slow to react as those raised in clean water. "If you're a fish living downstream of a wastewater treatment plant, you're not just getting a single dose of Prozac, you're getting several antidepressants, antibiotics, estrogen, birth control pills and other compounds...."
Some of his other research has shown that males exposed to some antidepressants were "feminized" and developed proteins normally made only by egg-laying females.
What all of this means is unclear, said Schoenfuss, except that pharmaceuticals even at extremely low concentrations can affect growth and development of very young and adult fish.