Research reveals Prozac in sewage-fed worms could affect other wildlife

Parliament this week heard about research findings that showed drugs, including the anti-depressant, Prozac, in earthworms collected from sewage treatment plants “provide a clear route of exposure to many species of wildlife including birds and bats.”

In an answer to a written question about the findings from Tory Peer, Lord Tebbitt, Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Lord Gardiner highlighted work published last year by scientists at the University of York who found Prozac concentrations in earthworms from sewage plant of more than 20 nanograms per gram. “The full significance of this is still being assessed,” Lord Gardiner wrote

Other recent research had, Lord Gardiner wrote, shown that low “environmental relevant” doses had interrupted courtship of starlings. That study cited work from 10 years ago that showed earthworms at sewage treatment plants to contain contaminants including pharmaceuticals. Lord Gardiner said other studies worldwide Thad also revealed the uptake of pharmaceuticals into worms and other invertebrates.