Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Mussels off the coast of Seattle test positive for opioids

Mussels off the coast of Seattle test positive for opioids

However, the results indicate the opioid crisis has now reached a point where enough Americans are taking the drug to impact marine life, the outlet reported.

Scientists who track pollution have discovered traces of the pain reliever oxycodone in some mussels in Seattle's Puget Sound.

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.

Scientists worked with the Puget Sound Institute to analyse the data and discovered three out of 18 locations came back positive for trace amounts of oxycodone.

People have nothing to worry about when it comes to eating mussels from a restaurant or shop because they come from clean locations., but it's another sign of what's ending up in the water and harming marine life.

"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".

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It's possible, however, that the opioids could affect fish, which are known to respond to the drugs, James added. Those chemicals then end up in wastewater.

Mussels in Puget Sound are testing positive for a slew of contaminants and personal care products, including opioids. And while many contaminants are filtered out of wastewater before it's released into the oceans, wastewater management systems can't entirely filter out drugs.

But the potential presence of oxycodone in fish would be concerning, however, as they do metabolize opioids.

As the USA continues to grapple with a widespread opioid epidemic, alarming research from Seattle indicates that the local population is consuming so much oxycodone that it's seeping into the local water supply. That said, it is concerning for fish, especially threatened species like salmon.

Trace amounts of the opioid were detected in mussels near Bremerton's shipyard and Elliot Bay.

The mussels tested came from highly urbanized areas, far from commercial shellfish beds where mussels are raised for food, according to the PSI.

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