Often featuring in the lower rungs of priority when it comes to determining the safety of a drug, the impact of a pharmaceutical on the freshwater environment can be significant on the health of lakes, rivers and those who reside nearby.
The gamut is wide and worrying – from limpets in the UK no longer able to cling on to rocks for survival as they “bathe in a soup” of antidepressants to Canadian male fish growing eggs in their testes after being exposed to the synthetic estrogen found in birth control pills.
These examples should serve as a reminder that when deeming a drug fit for market, we should research and factor in its impact on the environment and water systems.
As the tide of marijuana legalization seems to be steadily sweeping North America, it also highlights how the USA and Canada, with our shared watersheds and borderless water movement, need to put our heads together on this issue... There is also guidance to prevent these compounds from leeching into nearby water bodies and reaching its flora and fauna.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of fresh water to North America’s economy and peoples.