Amphetamine pollution in Baltimore streams

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    Pharmaceutical and illicit drugs are present in streams in Baltimore, Maryland. At some sites, amphetamine concentrations are high enough to alter the base of the aquatic food web. So reports a new study, which is one of the first to explore the ecological consequences of stimulant pollution in urban streams.
    Researchers measured concentrations of pharmaceutical and illicit drugs at six stream sites along an urban-to-rural gradient in Baltimore, Maryland. Numerous drugs, including amphetamine, were detected in stream sites, with illicit drug levels highest in the most urban streams.
    Field sampling was then followed up with an artificial stream experiment to determine how amphetamine – a biologically active, highly addictive, and widely used drug – affects stream life.
    Results show that in streams with the amphetamine addition, the growth of biofilms was significantly suppressed, the composition of bacterial and diatom communities changed, and aquatic insects emerged earlier.

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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The Chesapeake is the United States' largest estuary, but it is not well maintained.

    The same is true of the rivers that feed it, such as the Potomac. A couple of years ago biologists began noticing that many of the fish in the Potomac were hermaphrodites. They tested the water and discovered that it was rank with human female hormones. It turns out that these chemicals are effective in much lower concentrations than anyone had realized. The water purification systems only look at chemicals at the concentration of parts per million. But these hormones are quite effective in parts per billion!

    They'll have to redesign all the water treatment plants to solve this problem. And considering that the Baltimore region has been in economic decline and losing population since all of the "patriotic" business leaders moved their factories from Baltimore to China, there simply is no money to do this.
    Plazma Inferno! likes this.
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  5. timojin Valued Senior Member

    I remember reading Tames river passing through London have similar problem ( production of hermaphroditic fish. So this is sort of a general problem in our modern society
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