Oregon Health Authority, along with ODA, DEQ, and ODFW yesterday released a statement on a Portland State University oyster study. Portland TV was all over it last night, breathlessly "reporting": Pharmaceuticals have been found in Oregon shellfish!
Boy Howdy, even though I don't eat shellfish, I'd have been concerned - except that I had actually read the statement.
Oregon is fortunate to have a system, set forth by a collaboration of state agencies with clear, active roles, for protecting our coastal waters, the shellfish species that call them home, and the many Oregonians--and people around the world--who consume them.
Taken together, the oyster tissue samples from these studies showed:
--Low levels of contaminants, which were below OHA health screening levels.
--Levels of mercury that were low compared to other fish tissue around the state and similar to levels in clam and mussel samples collected from the same areas and below the OHA health screening level.
--Low levels of pharmaceuticals. The following is the amount of oyster meat that would have to be consumed to get a single dose of the pharmaceuticals at the amounts found in the oysters:
--- Naproxen (active ingredient in Aleve): more than 160,000 pounds.
--- Azythromycin (common antibiotic): more than 170,000 pounds.
--- Sulfamethoxazole (antibiotic): more than 630,000 pounds.
--- Diphenhydramine (antihistamine): more than 50,000 pounds.
Somehow, even if I happened to be really big on eating shellfish, it seems doubtful that I could pack away 50,000 pounds of them. But naturally, the TV "reporters" hype it up as though it's a huge health problem. Everybody Panic! They really give a whole new meaning to the term, "shuck and jive".
Health officials continue to encourage everyone to eat a variety of shellfish as part of a healthy diet.
Oh darn, the TV folks kind of left that part out. Along with the stats on how much meat you'd have to eat to receive a single dose of the pharmaceuticals. This is why I watch TV news purely for entertainment purposes while preparing dinner.