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The presence of cytostatics in the St. Lawrence: should we be concerned?

Seringue et médicament
Water Quality
To date, there are still very few studies on the presence of cancer drugs in the St. Lawrence. Since this is a subject of interest to our scientists, they have decided to conduct research to evaluate the impact of these substances on aquatic organisms.

Also known as cytostatics, compound used in chemotherapy are substances with the property of blocking cell synthesis, function or multiplication. Consequently, any living organism can be affected by their presence in the environment. But how can they be found in aquatic ecosystems, including the St. Lawrence River?

 Following their consumption, these substances are released by the patients, so that they can reach municipal wastewater and, ultimately, the environment. In doing so, there is a potential presence of these drugs in the water that travels to the St. Lawrence.

Determined to assess the level of toxicity of these substances on aquatic organisms, scientists analyzed five cytostatics on fish larvae at or slightly above environmental levels. The study aimed to evaluate fish embriotoxicity of cytostaticsExternal link. The results suggest that these substances are not embryotoxic to fish, in addition to inducing no significant differences in mortality, hatching time, length, heart rate and presence of malformations in the embryos.

 It should be noted that additional work assessing other endpoint, such as behavioral changes, reproductive success, and transgenerational effects, could be conducted as part of the continuation of the project in this action plan.