University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researchers have uncovered startling results after conducting a test aimed at measuring the effects of environmental exposure to Prozac in small fish named Fathead Minnows. Rather than inducing calming effects like one might guess, the researcher’s fish became aggressive and violent, in some cases even killing other fish.
To explain the correlation of the study’s parameters, lead researcher Rebecca Klapper described the process of bio-filtration within the human body, and how traces of consumed materials can be found within urine samples:
The human body does not absorb medications 100 percent, so a trace amount is excreted in urine. Water treatment centers are unable to completely filter out all of those contaminant and can trickle down and affect the wildlife. Klapper sees the minnows as a way to gauge the long-term effects of Prozac in humans.
“It’s not just an environmental question but a human question as well,” she tells ABC News.
In addition to the increase in violent tendencies in the Fathead Minnows, the exposure to Prozac also drastically effected the minnows’ reproductive behavior. With as little as a single dose of Prozac dissolved in over 5000 gallons of water, the Fatheads were noted to spend more time in their nest than interacting with females which was a dramatic change from normal behavioral patterns.
Common side effects of Prozac in human subjects have been noted to be similar to those exhibited by the Fathead Minnows. Rebecca Klapper’s account for such dramatic magnification of the effects relates to the Fathead’s slower clearing of the medication from their systems, which would lead to a possible build up of the Prozac within their systems.
While the behavior of the Fatheads in this study certainly don’t prove similar reactions in human exposure, it is almost impossible not to note the staggering connection between violent acts and their perpetrator’s use of prescription anti-psychotics, anti-depressants and other prescription medications similar to Prozac.
While fish were being used in this study to mimic the trace amounts of pharmaceuticals which sidestep municipal filtration processes and end up in larger bodies of water with inhabiting fish, one can imagine those same traces probably find their way to household water supplies as well.
Image Source: ABC News