Britain’s environment watchdog has found the country’s drinking water contains measurable amounts of the antidepressant Prozac, the Observer Sunday newspaper reported.
The Liberal Democrats’ environment spokesman, Norman Baker calls the phenomenon a “hidden mass medication upon the unsuspecting public,” the newspaper said. “It is alarming that there is no monitoring of levels of Prozac and other pharmacy residues in our drinking water,” Baker remarked.
The Environment Agency has revealed that Prozac is gathering in river systems and groundwater used for drinking supplies, and discussions have been held with the pharmaceutical industry to discuss any repercussions for human health or the ecosystem.
Environmentalists Demand Investigation
Experts say the antidepressant drug gets into the rivers and water system via treated sewage water. Environmentalists are demanding an urgent investigation of the evidence.
The precise quantity of Prozac in the nation’s water supplies remains unknown, and some experts maintain that the treatment of drinking water to remove pesticides also removes drug residues.
Nonetheless, environmental groups are concerned that this latest discovery could also pose risks to wildlife.
The use of the Prozac and other antidepressants in England has skyrocketed in recent years.
There has been a 166% increase in prescriptions written for antidepressants in the country since 1991, bringing the annual total up to up to 24 million, in a country with a population of 60 million, according to the Observer.
Prozac has become increasingly controversial in recent years, with some experts linking it to extreme side effects leading to violence and suicide.
The medication is widely-used to treat mental health afflictions such as depression, obsessive compulsion disorder, bulimia nervosa and panic disorder.