High Tide

Is there a 4:20 in the afternoon. . . for fish?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Headaches, depression, diabetes – our medicine cabinets are FULL of pills! And unfortunately, our bodies don’t fully absorb all the medications we take. The leftovers end up….um, in the toilet. One way or another!

Wastewater treatment centers can’t properly filter drugs. Downstream, fish are exposed to a cocktail of prescriptions, especially those that shouldn’t mix. What happens to the fish?

Researchers from the University of Washington and the Northwest Fisheries Science Center investigated. They measured drug concentrations of two fish species near wastewater outlets. For comparison, they calculated the human equivalent levels in fish. Fish drug levels in their tiny fish bodies were comparably high enough to treat gigantic humans!

Sadly, these drugs are dangerous because they shorten fish lifespans and change their internal systems. Dying fish cause turmoil for other marine animals by lowering their food sources.

How can we help? By properly disposing of drugs during Take Back Days, and by avoiding unnecessary prescriptions.

So don’t flush your stash, man! Or your ibuprofin.