Salmon is purported to be one of the healthiest foods due to its high omega-3 content, protein, and essential fatty acids, but if the fish is obtained from the Puget Sound, it is anything but healthy.
According to a recent study, up to 81 drugs and personal-care products were detected in the flesh of salmon caught in the Puget Sound. Some of the drugs include Prozac, Advil, Benadryl, Lipitor, and even cocaine. The Seattle Times reports that the levels are believed to be so high because either people in the area use more of the drugs detected, or because waste water plants are unable to fully remove the chemicals during treatment. Another theory is that leaky septic tanks are contributing to the problem, as high fecal coliform counts were detected.
Said Jim Meador, an environmental toxicologist at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle:
“The concentrations in effluent were higher than we expected. We analyzed samples for 150 compounds and we had 61 percent of them detected in effluent. So we know these are going into the estuaries.”
Samples were gathered over two days for the study, and both migratory juvenile chinook salmon and resident staghorn sculpin were tested. Chemicals were found not only in the tissue of the fish but in the water. And, the researchers suggest, it is likely the study under reports the amount of drugs in the water close to outfall pipes, or in deeper water.
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