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Pharmaceutical Pollution: Hormones in our water, Fish on Prozac


Fish on Prozac

By Jeff Dankert | Winona Daily News

LANESBORO, Minn. — Potential for human drugs polluting waterways and short circuiting aquatic biochemistry will be the topic of a speech Saturday night in Lanesboro.

Ira Adelman will present a lecture at Eagle Bluff Environmnetal Learning Center titled "Hormones in our water, fish on Prozac." Adelman is a University of Minnesota fisheries biology professor.

The topic may sound like comedy over dinner, but reflects a growing concern about trace chemicals from drugs and other medical compounds creating havoc with aquatic ecosystem functioning.

Prozac is an antidepressant drug manufactured by Eli Lilly Co.

Baylor University scientists in Texas found traces of a Prozac ingredient, fluoxetine hydrochloride, in bluegills and believe it came from human waste in a nearby sewage plant.

Water quality specialists have begun reporting small amounts of drugs, hormones, steroids, perfumes and other chemicals of human origin turning up in lakes and streams.

Adelman was away from his office in the Twin Cities on Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

Joe Deden, director of Eagle Bluff, said there is a list of chemicals from designer drugs, like Prozac, passing through human urine and getting into rivers.

"We're probably all on Prozac at some minimal level because of that," he said. "I would assume that anyone who fishes on the (Mississippi) river ought to be interested in this one."

Contact reporter Jeff Dankert at (507) 453-3513 or

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