Fish are a lot more eager to reproduce lately, according to new researchby Monash University. Scientist Michael Bertram reports that chemicals found in antidepressants have been discovered in water supplies that have fish sex-crazed.
After a series of tests, researchers have found that chemicals like fluoxetine, which is the active ingredient in Prozac, have made their way into aquatic habitats and are affecting fish’s behavior similar to humans. Based on the results of giving fish in a tank varying amounts of the drugs, they’ve concluded that the fish displayed “more frequent copulatory behavior” with higher doses.
So how are the chemicals getting to the fish? Basically, when humans use the bathroom while taking the drugs, the chemicals make their way into the ecosystem through water treatment systems that can’t filter out many pharmaceutical drugs. Bertram says that Fluoxetine, in particular, has caused a “wide range of adverse effects in aquatic species,” including disrupting their reproductive patterns. Besides the fish’s behavior, the drugs have even changed their “physiological traits,” like size, age, and sex.