Antidepressants And Antibiotics Found In Irish Rivers
Friday 19th, May 2023
Ireland Report / Story
A study conducted by Dublin City University found Irish rivers contained levels of antidepressants and antibiotics, in line with similar findings in other European countries.

The study brings bare the failings in the treatment of wastewater as drugs should not be making out of the treatment facilities.

Researchers found 16 widely used drugs of varying levels in waters around Ireland, these drugs included common drugs used to treat depression, diabetes and bacterial infections.

Most of the drugs found were at low level concentrations, but 53 were rated high risk and another 64 were rated a moderate risk.

In total, 16 pharmaceuticals were tested with Sulfamethoxazole (antibiotic) and Venlafaxine (antidepressant) comprising the majority of detections.

The Liffey had the highest concentrations of drugs founds. The Nore was the least affected however it still have some drugs present though these were at concentrations that are predicted not to have an effect.

Sulfamethoxazole was found in both the Suir and the Annalee rivers at elevated levels.

Fiona Regan, the lead author of the study said,
"The results have shown the effect of Covid-19 in leading to the increased use of pharmaceuticals – certain antidepressants and antibiotics increased during this time,"

"The presence of antibiotics in rivers is important and concerning because of increasing worries about antibiotic resistance in humans and animals."

"Meanwhile, the presence of antidepressants and other pharmaceutically active products in rivers can - even at low concentrations - have negative impacts on metabolism in organisms and on levels of biodiversity."

"The wastewater processes that we have in place are not fit for purpose to remove pharmaceuticals and this needs to be addressed,"