Nanoparticles Slowing Fish Down

December 7, 2012 By: Erin Block

Nanoparticles, used in everything from “sunblock to antimicrobial socks” are entering waterways and impacting fish behavior and physiology, researchers report in a recent issue of Aquatic Toxicology. They have found that the particles clog the gills of fish, eventually creating oxygen deprivation, making them more susceptible to predators along with many other detrimental health effects.  “We’ve shown that nanoparticles have similar effects on fish to trace metals like copper – they produce hypoxia [oxygen starvation],” explains Professor Richard Handy of the University of Plymouth, “which in turn leads to poor muscle performance, neurological problems and changed behavior.”