Mussels In Waters Off Seattle Test Positive For Opioids

27 May, 2018, 16:58 | Author: Veronica Peterson
  • Seattle Mussels Test Positive for Opioids

"What we eat and what we excrete goes into the Puget Sound", a biologist known as Jennifer Lanksbury at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, informed the CBS News associate KIRO.

While the amount of oxycodone found in the mussels are thousands of times lower than a human dose, it's still a worrying development due to the drugs' potential effects on local fish.

James said that the mussels were found in highly urbanized areas, not commercial shellfish beds, and that seafood from the Puget Sound was safe to eat.

Melphalan was present at "levels where we might want to look at biological impacts", scientist Andy James of the Puget Sound Institute said in a statement.

"Things like, they can affect the growth of organisms, their hormone systems, their ability to reproduce", she explained.

When humans ingest opioids like oxycodone, they ultimately end up excreting traces of the drugs into the toilet.

Mussels do not metabolise opioids, but some fish can become addicted.

State scientists dispersed clean mussels around the Puget Sound and extricated them months after the fact to try things out.

Since mussels are "filter feeders", they absorb contaminants from their environment into their tissues in a concentrated way.

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CNN reports that a number of other pharmaceuticals were found in the mussels' tissue including seven types of antibiotics, five antidepressants, more than one antidiabetic drug, and a chemotherapy agent.

"What this is telling us is some of this stuff is coming out of our wastewater treatment plants and so we need to do a better job either at controlling the sources or trying to reduce the exposure in the Puget Sound", said Lanksbury.

Drug use in the Pacific Northwest is so prevalent that scientist have found trace amounts of narcotics in the systems of sea creatures in the area.

The WDFW, along with a team from the Puget Sound Institute, analyzed the mussels after leaving them in the water for a period of time, and the researchers were stunned to find them polluted with oxycodone. "These are the mussels we use in our analyses".

Urging Seattle residents to be mindful of "what they do at home", Lanskbury remains hopeful, adding that "the Puget Sound is a jewel in Washington, and if we all work together to keep it clean, we can make great strides".

Two were near Bremerton's shipyard and one was in Elliot Bay near Harbor Island in Seattle.

"Hopefully our data shows what is out there and could get the process started for cleaning up our waters".

Every other year, the department specifically monitors herring, English sole, Chinook salmon and mussels for contaminants.



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