PSU study finds Olympia oysters from Oregon coast contain drugs - KPTV - FOX 12

PSU study finds Olympia oysters from Oregon coast contain drugs and other toxins

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Researchers at PSU studying the Olympia oyster discovered a mixture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals in the specimens. (KPTV) Researchers at PSU studying the Olympia oyster discovered a mixture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals in the specimens. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A study conducted by Portland State University researchers has revealed that native Olympia oysters in Coos Bay and Netarts Bay contain a mixture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

According to Elise Granek, associate professor of Environmental Science and Management and fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State, the effects of consuming this combination of pain relievers, antibiotics, antihistamines, PCBs, mercury and pesticides are unknown and may be potentially harmful.

These chemicals were all found to individually be within the safe levels designated by the Oregon Health Authority, however it is unknown whether or not this blend of chemicals carries health risks when consumed.

Granek's research showed that groundwater runoff and waste water eventually made their way into the ocean, taking along any chemicals or pharmaceuticals distributed into these bodies of water. Heavy metals, such as mercury, are deposited into ocean water through air pollution as well.

These chemicals and pharmaceuticals are then ingested by oysters due to the fact that the sea creatures filter their food through the surrounding water.

According to this PSU-led team, which includes researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, mercury levels were found to be higher in native oysters than in oysters from the Gulf of Mexico or the coast of France.

The oysters used for this study were the smaller native Olympia oyster measuring 1.5 to 2 inches, . The larger, non-native and commercially-harvested Pacific oyster, which measures from 4 to 8 inches in size, was not part of the research.

Granek plans to further her study and has applied for grants to research the effects these contaminants on the human body as well as the ecological effects.

Results of the study were published in the Science of the Total Environment.

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