Mussels harvested from the Puget Sound are testing positive for opioids. The source of the drug is coming from treated sewage water being returned to the Sound. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration estimates that 300 pounds of pharmaceuticals, personal care products and industrial compounds are introduced in to the Sound on a daily basis.
Mussels are filter feeder and they don’t metabolize opioids. As they filter water that they need to obtain nutrients they also intake and store pollutants in the water. To determine the level of pharmaceuticals in the water, they took clean mussels and placed them at several locations. They were left for months and extracted. They were analyzed for drug levels they stored.
The analysis showed levels that were too lower to affect people consuming the mussels. The test did indicate that the level of opioids is increasing.