Why You Shouldn’t Eat Fish in Montreal or any Major City

February 2, 2011

We are usually exhorted to eat more fish, and indeed if you can guarantee the source then it is a good idea, but a major problem could be about to hit us. This is based on a study from Montreal which shows that around one in four citizens there take some kind of anti-depressant and, according to new research, the drugs are passing into the waterways and affecting fish.

I don’t imagine Montreal is that different from other major cities that connect to a waterway, and we already know that synthetic hormones from HRT and the Pill find their way into our water system. The findings are internationally significant as Montreal’s sewage treatment system is similar to that in use in other major cities, and moreover, it is reputed to be the third largest treatment system in the world. Dr. Sébastien Sauvé at the University of Montreal’s Department of Chemistry has found that the drugs accumulate in fish tissues and are affecting the fish’s brain activity.

Sauvé has been looking at the chemical pollution of the water system for years and said “Montreal has a very basic sewage system and the chemical structure of anti-depressants makes them extremely difficult to remove from sewage, even with the most sophisticated systems available. We know that antidepressants have negative side effects on human beings,” Sauvé said, “but we don’t know how exactly how these chemicals are affecting the fish, and by extension, the Saint Lawrence River’s ecosystem.”

Research is at an early stage, and there is no evidence to date that the release of antidepressants into the water is affecting brain activity in humans but you might want to check that your fish comes from deep, deep water and not an inland source!


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