To explore how aquatic pollution varies based on proximity to wastewater facilities, scientists placed one-week-old Pacific oysters at wastewater sites (not approved by state agencies as oyster growing sites) and near oyster aquaculture sites (approved for growing oysters) along the Oregon and Washington coastline. Nine and twelve months later, they collected the oysters, measured their health and size, and tested their tissues for pharmaceuticals and chemicals called alkylphenols, which are used in a variety of personal care and industrial products. Alkylphenols are endocrine disruptors that can alter the growth and reproduction of aquatic organisms.
Out of the 63 compounds tested, researchers found six in the oysters. The two pharmaceuticals detected in the oysters were miconazole, an over-the-counter drug for fungal infections like Athlete’s foot, and virginiamycin, a veterinary antibiotic used in livestock. As expected, the concentrations of pharmaceuticals were higher near the wastewater sites. The condition of the oysters was also poorer at wastewater sites compared to the sites near oyster farms.
Everyday products like detergents, cosmetics, soaps, and cleaners often contain alkylphenols as do forestry pesticide application mixtures. While detectable, the chemical levels were much lower than reported in other estuarine studies near more populated areas. Four types of alkylphenols were found in oysters from all the sites.Athlete’s foot meds found in oysters – Chemical Free Life