Shrimp test positive for cocaine in U.K. waters |

Shrimp test positive for cocaine in U.K. waters

Chris Pastrick
Rearchers in England have discovered that of all freshwater shrimp tested in U.K. waters, all of them tested positive for cocaine.
Rearchers in England have discovered that of all freshwater shrimp tested in U.K. waters, all of them tested positive for cocaine.

How fresh is that shrimp? But, perhaps a better question would be how high is that shrimp?

If it comes from the waterways in Britain, it’s a concern.

A new study, published today in Environment International, found all freshwater shrimp tested positive for cocaine.

King’s College London and the University of Suffolk studied the exposure of wildlife, such as the freshwater shrimp Gammarus pulex, to different micropollutants in U.K. rivers.

“Although concentrations were low, we were able to identify compounds that might be of concern to the environment and crucially, which might pose a risk to wildlife,” says Dr. Thomas Miller, the study’s lead author in a statement released by the school. “We found that the most frequently detected compounds were illicit drugs, including cocaine and ketamine and a banned pesticide, fenuron. Although for many of these, the potential for any effect is likely to be low.”

According to the study, consumer products, medicines and drugs can end up in rivers after use and comprise thousands of different chemicals which have the potential to cause environmental harm.

Researchers gathered samples at 15 sites from five catchment areas.

“Such regular occurrence of illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising,” said King’s College researcher Dr. Leon Barron. “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 U.K. also poses a particular challenge as the sources of these remain unclear.”

Chris Pastrick is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Chris at 412-320-7898, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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