Prescription Drugs in Great Lakes Don’t Dilute as Expected

Kermit Cole
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Concentrations of pharmaceuticals in Lake Michigan are undiluted two miles from treated sewage outfalls, according to research published in Chemosphere. Research has linked pharmaceuticals in fish to alterations in reaction times, eating habits, and anxiety. ““You’d expect dilution would kick in and decrease concentrations, and that was not the case here,” said a U.S. Geological Survey research hydrologist. “You’re not going to see fish die-offs [from pharmaceuticals], but subtle changes in how the fish eat and socialize that can have a big impact down the road.”

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Blair, B., Crago, J., Hedman, C., Klaper, R.; Pharmaceuticals and personal care products found in the Great Lakes above concentrations of environmental concern. Chemosphere. Online August 23, 2013

Of further interest:

Drugs Contaminate Lake Michigan (Scientific American)
Pharmaceutical Pollution in Water (Hohonu)
Dilute Concentrations of a Psychiatric Drug Alter Behavior of Fish from Natural Populations (Science)
Fish on Prozac: Anxious, anti-social, aggressive (Environmental Health News)
Psychoactive Pharmaceuticals Induce Fish Gene Expression Profiles Associated with Human Idiopathic Autism (PLoS One)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

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