We all love shrimps, right? Eating the sweet and healthy seafood treat goes great with a glass of Pinot Grigio and your favorite movie on the TV. When you relax like this, the potential dangers hiding in the tiny bits of shrimp is the last thing on your mind. But, it should, especially today. You’d be surprised to see what kind of contaminants may be hiding in the wildlife. According to a recent UK study, shrimp is constantly testing positive for the presence of cocaine and scientists can’t put their finger on it.
In July 2018, samples collected from 15 different locations in the UK (east coast) tested positive for a bunch of chemicals and unsafe substances. What surprised the scientists the most was the presence of cocaine and lidocaine in the shrimp. Lidocaine, as you know, is an anesthetic while cocaine is an illegal drug.
The samples were so infused with both that scientists are still scratching their heads as to how they got into the shrimp. Their most likely guess is that the substances were leaked into the rivers or they got there through sewer overflows. The other chemicals found in the shrimp were a result of the increasing water pollution that is not just a problem in the UK, but the whole world.
What Else Was Found in the Samples?
It wasn’t just cocaine and lidocaine that was so problematic. Banned pesticides, chemicals, antidepressants, ketamine, and opioids were all on board. Dr. Leon Barron, a co-author of the study, expected to find chemicals in the samples, but the aforementioned substances caught him by surprise. What was more surprising is that the shrimp used in the study were from rural areas where no one expects such pollution. You can expect such contaminants in urban areas such as London, for example, but not from rural samples. Concentrations might have been low, but they were still there.
Scientists are pretty concerned about the findings, considering them risky for our wildlife. Illicit drugs such as cocaine and pesticides such as fenuron are constantly popping up in aquatic animal samples and that’s pretty concerning. It shows that water pollution is becoming a serious problem, not to mention the fact that it’s destroying nature as we know it.
Cocaine Labeled “The Invisible Pollution”
The next point of research is to see if the presence of cocaine in aquatic animals is an issue for Suffolk or a more widespread presence. Environmental health has attracted quite the attention due to ongoing problems with microplastic pollution and climate change. Unfortunately, the impact of invisible chemical pollution such as the issue with cocaine popping up in aquatic animal samples is a thing science should focus on.
Many aren’t concerned about it, considering the presence of opioids in the samples of this study accidental. However, a recently released study by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife revealed that mussels tested off the coast of Washington were full of oxycodone. Melphalan and other opioids also showed in the results, showing that the problem is much bigger than we can imagine.