Prawns on Prozac - Conservative MEP Julie Girling raises issue of antidepressants with European Parliment

Impact: Environmental Impacts, Societal Impacts

Description of impact

South West & Gibraltar MEP Julie Girling continues to pressure the European Comission about recent research by Dr Alex Ford which shows increasing levels of the anti-depressant Fluoxetine effect aquatic life.

Questions asked of the European Commission -  The Commission have acknowledged, stating they “are aware that medicines, both human and veterinary, are finding their way into the environment, and that these might affect ecosystems and, indirectly, human health. In recent years, concerns about micro-pollutants (including medicines) have focused mainly on compounds which can interfere with the actions of hormones in humans and animals, i.e. on the so-called endocrine disruptors, and on antibiotics. Behaviour of medicines in the water environment is diverse, ranging from being easily biodegradable to resisting all stages of conventional waste water treatment.”

Commenting on the response, Julie said; “It is incredibly disconcerting to think that there are some micro pollutants in our water which are resistant to current water treatment systems. Our entire marine environment is potentially being damaged irreparably on a daily basis as pollutants are flushed into water across the South West and across the UK.

“There is no way of knowing the extent of this problem however, if these shrimp are being eaten by fish which are then consumed by humans there is no telling what effects this could have.

“It is essential that we do not ignore the marine environment and it is the responsibility of the UK Government to ensure the impact of pollutants are limited, I will bring this matter to the attention of Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ensure that the food chain is not put at risk for ours and future generations.”

Who is affected

Environmental and society through improved drinking and recreational waters
Impact statusOpen
Category of impactEnvironmental Impacts, Societal Impacts
Impact levelEngagement (development stage)