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  • Stevie Bee

We make it, we throw it away. It eventually comes back to us. Including drugs.

Updated: Jan 5

Shellfish test positive for opioids and other drugs

Back in January I noted that antibiotics were leaking from pharmaceutical factories into the environment, resulting in an increased risk of creating superbugs. Now, we learn that when people ingest opioids such as oxycodone — as well as other drugs — they ultimately end up excreting traces of the drugs into the toilet. And while many contaminants are filtered out of wastewater before it's released into the oceans, wastewater management systems can’t entirely filter out drugs.

Scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have found evidence that shellfish are testing positive for oxycodone, as well as for antidepressants and the common chemotherapy drug Melphalan. Mussels are a barometer of pollution. Being ‘filter feeders’, they absorb and concentrate contaminants from their environment into their tissues.

Take your pick: pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, micro-plastics, coal tar, nuclear waste. It all comes back to bite. We make it, we eventually ingest it or inhale it! There's not some other planet it goes to.

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