Modern society and modern research take their toll on the natural environment, causing several types of damages and pollution. Such is the case with the latest environmental issue in Baltimore: amphetamine polluted waters.
Researcher Sylvia S. Lee led a new study on the city waters. She and her team started analyzing samples from the river three years ago, in 2013. The tests showed that the waters in the city are infected by drugs, among which amphetamine. Other components which taint the water come from other pharmaceutical products, as well as chemical residues and beauty products.
Sylvia S. Lee, the main author of the study, talked about the level of pollution of the stream in Baltimore, Maryland:
“Around the world, treated and untreated wastewater entering surface waters contains pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs that originate from human consumption and excretion, manufacturing processes, or improper disposal. We were interested in revealing how amphetamine exposure influences the small plants and animals that play a large role in regulating the health of streams.”
The researchers carried out an experiment in their laboratories. It presupposed the recreation of these polluted conditions, as a simulation of what happens in nature. They wanted to see how these conditions affect the flora and fauna around the streams. According to their latest analyses, amphetamine pollution unbalances the natural ecosystems around Baltimore.
Emma J. Rosi-Marshall was part of specialist Lee’s team. Actually, she is the co-author of the study. She also talked about the outcome of the lab experiment:
“We found that when artificial streams were exposed to amphetamine at a concentration similar to what we found in parts of the Gwynns Falls watershed, there were measurable and concerning effects to the base of the aquatic food web.”
The specialists warn that pollution affects the development of insects like flies.
Amphetamine is a drug used for patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. Amphetamine overdose can lead to paranoia and hallucination.
Researchers will continue monitoring urban and suburban areas in order to keep evidence of water pollution. Their permanent monitoring doesn’t only reveal the sad situation of the amphetamine polluted waters, but also the sad situation of excessive drug use. Statistics show that usage rates of the drug are getting higher and higher.
The study on contaminated water was published in Environmental Science & Technology.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia