Mussels off the coast of Seattle test positive for opioids

Mussels off the coast of Seattle test positive for opioids

While tracking pollution levels in the waters of Puget Sound, researches said that trace amounts of oxycodone were recently discovered in the tissues of 'native bay mussels from Seattle and Bremerton area harbors'.

"What we eat and what we excrete goes into the Puget Sound", said Jennifer Lanksbury, Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife."So these are Penn Cove mussels".

The level of oxycodone found in a single mussel was 100 to 500 times smaller than a therapeutic human dose, Lanksbury said.

You might want to think twice before consuming too much shellfish-specifically mussels-from Washington's Puget Sound.

"These drugs, we're taking them, and then we're excreting them in our urine so it gets to the wastewater treatment plant in that way", Lanksbury said.

It's possible, however, that the opioids could affect fish, which are known to respond to the drugs, James added.

Although, for now, at least, there is little chance that an oxycodone-infused mussel will end up on your plate, this new discovery underscores the increasing severity of the opioid epidemic nationwide and its potential effects on the environment. Some of the oxycodone consumed by people end up in the toilet before going to wastewater treatment plants.

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There's enough opioids in Elliott Bay for mussels to register for that when they're put in the water.

The Department uses mussels to get a reading on pollution in waterways because they're "filter feeders", meaning they absorb contaminants from their surroundings into their tissues.

Researchers at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have discovered trace amounts of opioids in mussels in several locations off the Seattle coast - a telling sign of the severity of the opioid problem that has plagued communities across the country.

If you take legal or illegal drugs, or even flush them down the toilet unused, there's a good chance they'll wind up in Puget Sound.

An estimated 300 pounds of pharmaceuticals and personal care products are dumped into Puget Sound every day, according to a 2016 study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published by Science Direct.

"Hopefully our data shows what's out there and can get the process started for cleaning up our waters". However, the public has nothing to worry because mussels in restaurant or stores come from clean locations, and are healthy to eat. "When that data came back to us, we found oxycodone in three of those 18 samples".

Lanksbury also specifies that the contamination is limited to the urban areas of the Puget Sound, while most of the other shorelines of the sound are shown to be clean.

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