Human drugs may be affecting Puget Sound salmon, report says

A male chinook salmon (Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey)

Antidepressants. Diabetes drugs. High-blood-pressure medication. Puget Sound chinook are doing our drugs, and it may be hurting them. That’s according to new research reported in a story from our online news partner The Seattle Times.

The response was particularly pronounced in Puget Sound chinook — a threatened species many other animals depend on for their survival, including critically endangered southern-resident killer whales, The Times said.

Wastewater-treatment plants have been engineered to clean out trash and remove and disinfect solids, The Times said, but they mostly can’t screen out drugs that people take — and express through elimination. The drugs pass through the plants into Puget Sound in wastewater effluent.

 You can read more in The Times here.



  1. It’s depressing, but unsurprising to learn that the medications we use end up in waterways and end up impacting downstream habitats. Such findings were recorded years ago in other locations, and in some places the drugs were found to travel the entire weather cycle: from waterway to ocean to cloud uptake to deposition as snow and rain on mountainsides…


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