By Montana Grant

Posted: June 16, 2022

Fish are on drugs! Recently, the EPA finished a study that measured huge amounts of medicines and drugs in our sewage discharge waters and fish that live nearby. Drugs that impact and affect humans also affect living creatures that encounter the menu of leftover drugs. This includes legal and illegal drugs.

Our bodies only use part of the medicines that we take. The rest are discharged in our urine and solid wastes. Sewage treatment plants could neutralize these drugs, but are not required to, so they don’t. Fresh and saltwater fish are impacted. Urban watersheds are impacted more than rural watersheds.

Fish and other living critters in the food chain can have their behavior, migrations, reproduction, and health affected. Most common medicines that address blood pressure, birth control, allergies, cholesterol, depression, and pain relievers show up in the testing. One tested fish had 17 different drugs in its system.

In Big Sky Montana, the sewage is discharged into the Gallatin River. Heavy algae blooms and drugs are at high levels. All aquatic and nearby mammals, insects, and most living organisms that encounter poorly treated sewage are affected. Scientists are also able to measure discharged waters to determine diseases, such as Covid, and other drug usage. The density of contamination can be used in a formula to estimate diseases and other human conditions. 

In the Susquehanna River of Pennsylvania, the once great Smallmouth Bass population lost their sexual identity, due to birth control drugs discharged into the river. The bass sexually neutral and could not reproduce.  What goes downstream becomes someone else’s concern.

Fresh water fish impacted    Walleye, pike, trout, catfish, carp, tilapia

Farm Raised Fish     These fish are more densely packed together and quickly share contamination. Dyes and antibiotics are also added to keep the fish alive.

Warm Water fish    Many ocean and other “fresh” fish are sprayed with preservative chemicals. Fish caught near urban areas have high levels of drugs. This includes shellfish and crabs.

Wild Caught Coldwater Fish    These are the best choice for consumption. Ironically, in Montana most of the primary waters come from Yellowstone Park Natural pollutants like arsenic, lead, mercury, and other poisons mix in with sewage discharges. Lakes may be a better choice.

Thoroughly soak and rinse any fish that you eat. Most pollutants, drugs, and toxins absorb into the fats, along ribs, at bases of fins, and in the skin. Trim/filet these away.

Also consider what is the source of your drinking water. Consider returning unused drugs rather than flushing them down the commode. Encourage your local government to treat the sewage waters more completely to eliminate the drugs from any discharges.

I use a recipe to Sweeten “my fish filets.

                Mix 3 tbsp. of salt and 2 tbsp. of baking soda into 1 gallon of water. Submerge the fish filets in the mix. Use a plate to hold the fish down. Refrigerate foe 4-6 hours. Rinse with cold water and dry on paper towels.  You will be amazed at what comes out of your filets. The mix helps leach the drugs and toxins from the fish.

Eat healthy and smart!

Montana Grant