- It should make us happy, but environmentalists are deeply
alarmed: Prozac, the anti-depression drug, is being taken in such large
quantities that it can now be found in Britain's drinking water.
- Environmentalists are calling for an urgent investigation
into the revelations, describing the build-up of the antidepressant as
'hidden mass medication'. The Environment Agency has revealed that Prozac
is building up both in river systems and groundwater used for drinking
- The government's chief environment watchdog recently
held a series of meetings with the pharmaceutical industry to discuss any
repercussions for human health or the ecosystem.
- The discovery raises fresh fears that GPs are overprescribing
Prozac, Britain's antidepressant of choice. In the decade up to 2001, overall
prescriptions of antidepressants rose from nine million to 24 million a
- A recent report by the Environment Agency concluded Prozac
could be potentially toxic in the water table and said the drug was a 'potential
- However, the precise quantity of Prozac in the nation's
water supplies remains unknown. The government's Drinking Water Inspectorate
(DWI) said Prozac was likely to be found in a considerably 'watered down'
form that was unlikely to pose a health risk.
- Dr Andy Croxford, the Environment's Agency's policy manager
for pesticides, told The Observer: 'We need to determine the effects of
this low-level, almost continuous discharge.'
- Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat's environment spokesman,
said the revelations exposed a failing by the government on an important
public health issue. He added that the public should be told if they were
inadvertently taking drugs like Prozac.
- 'This looks like a case of hidden mass medication upon
the unsuspecting public,' Baker said. 'It is alarming that there is no
monitoring of levels of Prozac and other pharmacy residues in our drinking
- Experts say that Prozac finds its way into rivers and
water systems from treated sewage water. Some believe the drugs could affect
their reproductive ability.
- European studies have also expressed disquiet over the
impact of pharmaceuticals building up in the environment, warning that
an effect on wildlife and human health 'cannot be excluded'.
- 'It is extremely unlikely that there is a risk, as such
drugs are excreted in very low concentrations,' a DWI spokesman said. 'Advanced
treatment processes installed for pesticide removal are effective in removing
drug residues,' he added.
- Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited
From Mary Sparrowdancer
- Once again, despite the concerns raised here, the "F"
word has been carefully omitted from the report and study.
- Prozac is a fluorinated pharmaceutical. It is a fluoride
compound. Among other things, fluoride is also known to be a thyroid toxin.
- When the thyroid is not functioning properly, one of
the symptoms can be depression.
- Someone has created a monster. We need to wake up and
recognize it - while we can still see and think.
- Mary Sparrowdancer