A new study has found that an anxiety reducing drug that is finding its way into lakes and rivers is increasing the life span of certain fish population along with changing their reproduction and making them aggressive.
Researchers led by Dr Jonatan Klaminder from the Umea University in Sweden analyzed the concentration of Oxazepam, a drug used to treat anxiety and insomnia in humans, in a two-year-old Eurasian perch that was caught in a lake in Sweden.
They experimented with varying levels of the drug in the eggs of different perch population and found that higher concentrations led to reduced mortality rates compared to other fish. The researcher said that increase in the lifespan could have a cascading effect on other species of the food chain.
"Pharmaceuticals, which are designed to improve health, are a new group of contaminants that do not necessarily fit into the traditional view. I think there is a 'bandwagon effect' within the research community where the old test and the traditional view of a contaminant is routinely used without reflection about the conceptual flaw implicit in the methods", Dr Klaminder said in a new release.