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Nine out of ten transgendered carp prefer Prozac to Zoloft
April 28, 2006 6:41 AM   Subscribe

The Ty-D-Bol Man looks pretty mellow today. When I was younger, my father - a pediatrician - would routinely clean out the medicine cabinet of old cold medicines, antibiotics, high potency barbiturates, illegal diet pills and other nostrums. Rather than throw them into the garbage "where someone might get their hands on them" he would flush them down the toilet (just like the poison control people recommend). Apparently in doing so he was making sure that everybody got them. Think the quantities are too small to make a difference? Not so, say Canadian fish, who seem capable of getting confused by the residue from birth control pills and changing gender. Don't worry too much about them, though. They're all on Prozac, so they're OK with it. [NB: see comments for .pdf version of first link]
posted by scblackman (21 comments total)

 
I've archived a .pdf of the Nature Medicine article that prompted this here, just in case you can't get the full text for some reason.
posted by scblackman at 6:42 AM on April 28, 2006


Excellent post, thank you.
posted by headspace at 6:44 AM on April 28, 2006


"Think the quantities are too small to make a difference? Not so, say Canadian fish, who seem capable of getting confused by the residue from birth control pills and changing gender."

Not to mention talking! We need to start dumping more birth control pills, if you ask me!
posted by Plutor at 6:57 AM on April 28, 2006


American fish would never get confused and switch gender! It's more evidence that Canada is a lot like that swishy European continent!
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:00 AM on April 28, 2006


Woah, no wonder I feel better if I drink several pints of water a day.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:01 AM on April 28, 2006


Canadian fish are total flip-floppers!
posted by slater at 7:28 AM on April 28, 2006


And their dolphins are total flippers!
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:29 AM on April 28, 2006


My guess is that the amount of medicine is a drop in the bucket compared to the other stuff that goes down our drains everyday. For example, there have been several sewer explosions caused by dumped paint thinner. And then there is the fertelizer and pesticide runoffs from the farms... .
posted by Capt. Bligh at 7:55 AM on April 28, 2006


Great post.
posted by piscatorius at 8:02 AM on April 28, 2006


My mom died three weeks ago. I was her caretaker. Since then, I have ground up a ton of pills in the garbage diposal. WHoopsie!
posted by eener at 8:03 AM on April 28, 2006


Great post. I used to bring old rx to my pharmacy for disposal in my home town, but when I tried to do it here in Boston the pharmacist looked at me like I was nuts. Googling didn't help, so now I've got a collection of expired drugs waiting for my next trip back home.

Now I'm wondering - how did my old pharmacy dispose of them "properly"?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 8:40 AM on April 28, 2006


It's not just the toilet. Today we are being told not to use the garbage disposal-- that solid materials should be composted or thrown in the trash rather then put more material into the recycled water system. And grease is a big no no. The lazy, crazy, hazy days of pouring your cooking oils down the sink are over!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:48 AM on April 28, 2006


Frankly, anyone who ingests pills they picked out of the trash deserves whatever happens as a result. Better to protect the instinctually-ignorant animals over the willfully-ignorant humans.

Just throw your pills in the trash.
posted by solipse at 8:52 AM on April 28, 2006


Frankly, anyone who ingests pills they picked out of the trash deserves whatever happens as a result.

MeFi Post: April 28, 2016

A frightening colony of Nyquil-abusing, antibiotic-resistant, dumpster divers with unusually low blood pressures and low cholesterol levels has been found living in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Authorities are baffled as to the origins of this group.
posted by scblackman at 9:04 AM on April 28, 2006


I have this question, which originally came up when discussing Mercury in fish....

If large amounts of ocean-going fish are contaminated with Mercury to a level that is dangerous for humans, how much Mercury is that? I mean, the ocean is BIG, there's a hell of a lot of water there, so the Mercury should be pretty dilute. The oceans are also very deep, and Mercury is heavier than water, so it should sink, right?

Some of that goes for medicine too. That must be one hell of a lot of Prozac to even be detectable.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:06 AM on April 28, 2006


Thanks for a great post, scblackman.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:16 AM on April 28, 2006


Kickstart70, the mercury moves up the food chain in higher concentrations. It's called bioaccumulation .
posted by DakotaPaul at 10:29 AM on April 28, 2006


If large amounts of ocean-going fish are contaminated with Mercury

Think Mercury is an issue? Try PCBs. Then add plastic.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/05/0506_040506_oceanplastic.html
http://www.oceansatlas.com/unatlas/-ATLAS-/chapter12.htm

Now, let the plastic shards absorb 10,000 times the PCBs.
http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Synthetic-Sea-Moore.htm


YUM!
posted by rough ashlar at 10:49 AM on April 28, 2006


Now I'm wondering - how did my old pharmacy dispose of them "properly"?

I've worked in enough pharmacies to say that they most likely flushed them down the toilet. The standard method I've seen hospitals use to get rid of discontinued IV antibiotics is to cut open the bags and dump them down the sink. Scary stuff, but a lot cheaper than hiring some outside company to come in and haul the stuff away.
posted by makonan at 11:37 AM on April 28, 2006


God, we humans are so freakin' stupid.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:19 PM on April 28, 2006


Kickstart70: That must be one hell of a lot of Prozac to even be detectable.

Plus the part that is excreted in user's urine. There must be a hell of a lot of Prozac users out there.
posted by sneebler at 6:56 AM on April 29, 2006


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