Scientists find traces of cocaine, banned pesticides in shrimps in Suffolk rivers, claims new study
A recent study claims that scientists have found traces of cocaine in freshwater shrimps when testing rivers for chemicals. Researchers at King's College, London, in collaboration with the University of Suffolk, tested 15 different locations across Suffolk. The resulting report from the series of tests revealed that cocaine was found in all samples tested.
Other illicit drugs, such as ketamine, were also widespread in the shrimp. The researchers called it a "surprising" finding. Professor Nic Bury, from the University of Suffolk, said: "Whether the presence of cocaine in aquatic animals is an issue for Suffolk, or more widespread an occurrence in the UK and abroad, awaits further research."
"Environmental health has attracted much attention from the public due to challenges associated with climate change and microplastic pollution. However, the impact of 'invisible' chemical pollution (such as drugs) on wildlife health needs more focus in the UK."
The particular study, which was published in Environment International, looked at the exposure of wildlife, such as the freshwater shrimp Gammarus pulex, to different micropollutants. According to reports, researchers collected the samples from the rivers Alde, Box, Deben, Gipping, and Waveney.
According to researchers, in addition to the drugs, banned pesticides and pharmaceuticals were also widespread in the shrimp that were collected. The potential for any effect on the creatures was "likely to be low", they said.
Dr. Leon Barron, from King's College London, said: "Such regular occurrence of illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising. We might expect to see these in urban areas such as London, but not in smaller and more rural catchments. The presence of pesticides which have long been banned in the UK also poses a particular challenge as the sources of these remain unclear."