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Surprising and disturbing

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Mussels in Washington's Puget Sound test positive for opioids, other drugs.

“Shellfish in the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean along the northwest coast of Washington, tested positive for the prescription opioid oxycodone... The mussels also contained four kinds of synthetic surfactants -- the chemicals found in detergents and cleaning products -- seven kinds of antibiotics, five types of antidepressants, more than one anti-diabetic drug and one chemotherapy agent.”

“Scientists have not studied whether mussels are harmed by oxycodone. However, the presence of this drug in the mollusk speaks to the high number of people in the urban areas surrounding the Puget Sound who take this medication", said Lanksbury.

"We decided it was important for us to start looking for 'contaminants of emerging concern,'" she said. This term refers to pharmaceuticals and personal care products -- including prescription drugs, detergents, shampoos and micro-plastic beads -- that are increasingly being detected in waterways, such as the Puget Sound.

A study conducted by the US Geological Survey found measurable amounts of one or more medications in 80% of the water samples drawn from 139 streams in 30 states.”

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