A study by Swedish researchers released this month in the journal Science shows the effects human drugs can have on animals when those drugs find their ways into our wastewaters — a subject Dr. Bryan Brooks, professor of environmental science and biomedical studies, has been studying at Baylor for years.
The full effects on fish of the drug studied by the Swedish group are unknown (though this initial report shows substantial behavioral changes). But scientists do know that the drug works on people through a particular cellular receptor that many other species (including some fish) share. In coverage of the subject reported in national media outlets such as TIME, USA Today and NPR, Brooks called for more attention to be given to the subject, by pharmaceutical companies and the government alike.
From USA Today, for example:
“Bryan Brooks, director of the Environmental Health Science Program at Baylor University, said drugs could also be designed to break down more quickly in the environment, and the government could continue to run take-back programs where people drop off their unused and expired drugs at government locations.
“Brooks said he’s particularly concerned about drug effects on aquatic environments, like the Trinity River south of Dallas and the South Platte River near Denver, where the majority of the flow comes from treated wastewater. In the developing world, he said, the problem may be even worse, because of lax wastewater treatment and industrial regulations.”
Brooks, a professor in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences since 2002, is one of many Baylor professors who brings his students into research experiences and his research into the classroom. He mentors undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in their thesis and other studies while each semester teaching classes from the 3000 level on up through graduate pursuits.
Sic ’em, Dr. Brooks!
You might also like:
* Baylor junior wins one of 40 EPA fellowships nationwide (Oct. 2012)
* National Geographic devotes two-page illustration to Baylor research (June 2010)
* Results of Baylor study garner media attention nationwide (March 2009)