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Drugs found in Puget Sound salmon from tainted wastewater

From left, Michael Caputo, Richard Ramsden and Stuart Munsch collect fish in a beach seine in the Puyallup estuary in September 2014. Their samples were part of the study published this week. (Andrew Yeh)

Originally published February 23, 2016 at 7:47 pm Updated February 25, 2016 at 11:28 am

By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times environment reporter

Puget Sound salmon are on drugs — Prozac, Advil, Benadryl, Lipitor, even cocaine.

Those drugs and dozens of others are showing up in the tissues of juvenile chinook, researchers have found, thanks to tainted wastewater discharge.

The estuary waters near the outfalls of sewage-treatment plants, and effluent sampled at the plants, were cocktails of 81 drugs and personal-care products, with levels detected among the highest in the nation.

The medicine chest of common drugs also included Flonase, Aleve and Tylenol. Paxil, Valium and Zoloft. Tagamet, OxyContin and Darvon. Nicotine and caffeine. Fungicides, antiseptics and anticoagulants. And Cipro and other antibiotics galore.

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