Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Mussels off Washington state test positive for opioids and antibiotics

Mussels Seattle Mussels Test Positive for Opioids
Johnnie Parks | 27 May, 2018, 17:01

Bay mussels in Washington's Puget Sound have tested positive for trace amounts of oxycodone, providing more evidence that the opioid prescription medication is truly ubiquitous.

The department conducted the tests in conjunction with the Puget Sound Institute.

It's possible, however, that the opioids could affect fish, which are known to respond to the drugs, James added. However, this is the first time scientists at the Puget Sound Institute discovered opioids in shellfish. When humans ingest opioids, traces of the drug end up in the toilet, CBS News said.

While the mussels themselves likely don't metabolize the drug - and therefore shouldn't be affected by it - the fact that it's there raises concerns about the fish in the area.

The reason mussels are the preferred test subject to track toxins in marine life is because they are filter feeders, eating microscopic plants and animals that they strain out of seawater.

Of the 18 locations scientists used, three showed traces of oxycodone. "They receive the water that comes from our toilets and our houses and our hospitals, and so 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.

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Also in 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that almost 300lbs (136kg) of pharmaceuticals, personal care products and industrial compounds ended up in the Puget Sound each day, some at high enough concentrations to negatively impact fish.

"Hopefully our data shows what's out there and can get the process started for cleaning up our waters", she said.

"We sent 18 samples (of mussels) to a laboratory up in Canada and asked for a suite of pharmaceutical and personal care products", Lanksbury said. Citizen science volunteers stake the cages to the inner tidal area of the Puget Sound at low tide, and the scientists collect them after several months.

She says mussels at a restaurant or store are healthy because they come from clean locations.

Almost two decades ago, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a study and found "measurable amounts" of medications in a whopping 80 percent of water samples that were collected from 139 steams across 30 states. Two of the areas were close to the historic naval shipyard district, and the other one was in Elliot Bay near Harbour Island, Seattle.

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

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