US opioid crisis: Mussels off Seattle found with oxycodone in their system
27 May, 2018, 17:03
"Several months later, they pulled those previously uncontaminated mussels back out of the urban waters and, together with the Puget Sound Institute, tested them again", writes CBS.
The growing use of opioids is showing up in an unexpected place - the waters of the Puget Sound, specifically the marine life that lives there, scientists say.
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. Scientists have also identified antibiotics, antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, and heart medication in mussels' systems.
One of the samples came from the shoreline of Seattle, and the two others came from near Bremerton, she said.
"Hopefully our data shows what's out there and can get the process started for cleaning up our waters", she said.
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 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2016 projected that almost 300 lbs of the pharmaceuticals, industrial compounds and personal care products ended up in Puget Sound every day, some at the high concentrations to harmfully impact the 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.
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'It's telling me there's a lot of people taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound area, ' Washington Fish and Wildlife biologist Jennifer Lanksbury told local broadcaster KIRO-7 News.
However, in this study, the amounts of opioids detected were thousands of times smaller than a human dose.
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.
Of 18 areas researchers utilized, three indicated hints of oxycodone. "Most of the shorelines of the Puget Sound are pretty clean".
The chemotherapy agent, Melphalan, was found in high levels, which could be cause for concern as well.
The population of the Puget Sound is slated to double over the next 10 to 20 years, Lanksbury noted, and a high proportion of that population is expected to live on the shore.
"It's a nationwide problem", Lanksbury said.
Meanwhile, Seattle residents need "to keep in mind that what they do at home, what they put on their lawns, what they flush down the toilet ends up in the Puget Sound", she said.
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