Study finds Oregon oysters contain potentially harmful chemicals

0502 Olympia OysterPortland, Ore. — Oregon oysters are safe to eat, but they contain some chemicals they shouldn’t.

A new study from Portland State University said the native Olympia oysters in Coos and Netarts Bay contain chemicals from pain relievers, antibiotics, mercury, and pesticides.

The chemicals enter the bays from groundwater runoff, and wastewater that ends up in the ocean.

The levels are deemed safe by the Oregon Health Authority, but the health risks are largely unknown.

Elise Granek, associate professor of Environmental Science and Management and fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State said, “We’ve found oysters that contain pharmaceuticals, carcinogenic compounds and mercury, and we don’t know the effects or synergies of taking this combination of drugs and chemicals together. Commercial and native oysters may contain similar contaminants because the two species both filter their food out of the surrounding water.”

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