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April 8 2013

Flushed Drugs May Threaten Stream Ecologies


Most streams that flow near cities and towns are laced with drugs that escape from sewage treatment plants or pharmaceutical factories. Although often occurring at concentrations of a few parts per trillion, these compounds can nevertheless hurt aquatic life, turning male fish into female fish with hormones or giving them the munchies with anti-anxiety medication. Now comes the first study that shows an effect of drugs on the base of the food web the nutritious microbial slime that covers the streambed. Experts caution, however, that the work is preliminary.

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