65% of Rivers Studied Contain Antibiotics

In a new study that surveyed 72 rivers around the world, researchers found antibiotics in the waters of nearly two-thirds of all sites sampled. The researchers presented their results on Monday at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Every year humans consume more and more antibiotics. After antibiotics pass through humans, they persist in the environment and enter the water systems where they can lead to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The researchers gathered collaborators from around the world, who sampled nearby rivers: 72 rivers were tested, rivers on every continent but Antarctica. Samples were frozen and mailed to the UK for analysis.

The samples were tested for 14 different types of antibiotics. Traces of at least one drug were found in 65 percent of the samples studied, antibiotics were found in rivers from every continent sampled.



Photo: “Altja river” by Andres Papp is licensed under CC BY 2.0