A DEADLY cocktail of drugs have been found in two English rivers.

Samples taken from 11 sites on the Rivers Foss and Ouse in the York area of North Yorkshire revealed 29 types, including antidepressants, antibiotics and epilepsy medicines.

Some of the drugs can’t even be prescribed in the UK and are thought to come from American and Chinese tourists.

This comes hard on the heels of research showing World record levels of micro plastics in Lancashire rivers.

The University of York team behind the research said that drugs excreted in urine and faeces could pass through waste water treatment plants without being removed and then pumped into rivers.

Seasonal spikes were recorded in the 12-month study with higher levels of antihistamines in summer and higher levels of drugs associated with flu in the winter.

Professor Alistair Boxall said: “It is important to realise these drugs are being emitted continuously into the environment and that we will be exposed to them across our lifetime.”

Paul Floyd, a committee member of the River Anglers Conservation Group blasted: “This news, coming on top of the other issues raised in recent times with plastics and hormones found in our rivers, is worrying to say the least.

“We don’t know fully what the impact there will be on our fish and wildlife and there is also the overall public health concern about these substances getting into our water supply.

“The hormones found in water might be a factor in the recent decline in male sperm counts, and research by Professor Susan Jobling of Brunel University has shown significant levels of feminisation in roach.

“Autopsies on deceased large barbel have also shown worrying evidence of both male and female reproductive organs and this might be accounting for problems in fish successfully breeding in some areas.

“One lesson is to ensure people don’t flush their unused drugs down the toilet and return them to the pharmacy for proper disposal,” he added.

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