'Grilling season is here, but you might want to think twice before skewering up some shrimp this summer — those tasty crustaceans may be toxic. Scientists studying rivers in the United Kingdom say every single sample of shrimp they examined tested positive for cocaine and lidocaine. Other drugs, such as ketamine and opioids, were also found in the shrimp. Many of the shellfish examined also tested positive for pesticides that are banned in the U.K. and other potentially hazardous chemicals.
But the U.K. is not the only place riddled with drug-infested shrimp. Drugged-up shellfish are becoming an international issue. Crustaceans are clearly not buying their own cocaine, and as scientists explain, the sudden uptick in contaminated sea critters is yet another sign that humans are polluting the environment.
Cocaine shrimp and pesticide prawns
Scientists from the U.K. just published research in the journal Environmental Research which shows how badly contaminated local rivers really are. Freshwater shrimp were collected at 15 different sites along five Suffolk County rivers. Suffolk County is a rural area north of London.
The researchers say the drugs most likely made their way into the ecosystem through human consumption.
In a press release, study co-author Leon Barron said of the findings, “Such regular occurrence of illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising. We might expect to see these in urban areas such as London, but not in smaller and more rural catchments. The presence of pesticides which have long been banned in the U.K. also poses a particular challenge as the sources of these remain unclear.”'
Read more: Shocking cocktail of toxic chemicals and pesticides found in the global shrimp supply
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