Add marine wildlife to the growing list of life affected by America’s
For the first time, scientists have detected traces of oxycodone in mussels
Biologist Jennifer Lanksbury explained whatever people eat and excrete —
including opioids — end up in waterways.
“It’s telling me there’s a lot of people taking oxycodone in the Puget
Sound area,” Lanksbury said.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials extracted mussels from
clean water and put them in urban areas they wanted to test for
contamination. There was enough oxycodone in a Seattle-area bay for the
mussels to test positive.
The system that filters water catches a lot of contaminants, but it can’t
specifically filter out drugs, Kings County Wastewater Management said.
“Those are definitely chemicals that are out there in the nearshore waters
and they may be having an impact on the fish and shellfish that live
there,” Lanksbury said.
The data was from a one-time study for prescription drugs in Washington’s
waterways, but officials say they will try to get more funding to continue