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Scientists Underscore Drugs' Impact On Waterways

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Greg McMullen: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gergtreble/4278598285/

The Drug Enforcement Administration will host its third National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday. And scientists are urging residents to pitch in to protect area waterways. 

"The synthetic estrogen added to birth control pills -- we know that can get out into the environment through waste water treatment effluent," says Vicki Blazer, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "Exposure to that has been associated with intersex or the production of immature eggs within the testes of the fish."

She says antidepressants are also seeping into waterways, and into the bodies of fish who live there: "The scary thing is that when we look for some of those things not only are we finding them in the water, and five to seven different antidepressants in the water, but in New York and Iowa we’ve actually taken out fish brains and had them analyzed for antidepressants and we find them in the brains of the fish," she says. 

So organizers are urging people to take part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Collection sites throughout the region will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. 

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