CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A recent study has revealed the use of a common over-the-counter pain reliever may have a negative impact on an unusual target.
In an article posted by the College of Charleston’s publication, The College Today, a recent study by CofC biology professor Allison Welch and chemistry professor Wendy Cory shows that the common medicine naproxen, which is found in Aleve, is harmful to amphibians like toads.
Their research primarily focused on a species of tadpole local to Charleston – the Anaxyrus Terrestris – which they say is also known as the southern toad.
According to their research, nearly 95-percent of naproxen ingested by humans is excreted. Since wastewater treatment plants are not equipped to remove the drug, naproxen along with other pharmaceuticals are often discharged untouched into local waterways.
The study shows found when coming into contact with southern tadpoles, these chemicals can be up to 15 times more toxic than the original naproxen.
“This research underscores the need to consider the consequences of pharmaceutical transformation when evaluating the risks posed by pharmaceuticals in the environment,” Welch said of the study’s results.
She also pointed out current environmental levels of naproxen do not pose an immediate threat to amphibians but said she is concerned that could change.