Jan 04, 2010

NOAA Study Tests Mussels for Water Pollutants

Effort to help determine severity of new contaminants in nation's waters

When it comes to calculating just how polluted surface water is, scientists in California have sought the answers from 180 black mussels of San Francisco Bay, according to the Associated Press.

The effort is part of a pilot study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one that involves pulling mussels from 80 sites in California, the report said. The idea is that mussels store water contaminants in their tissue and can therefore provide a reference guide to the feared pollution of water caused by chemicals and pharmaceuticals like birth control pills and polybrominated diphenyl.

"We haven't measured mussels for these compounds, so there's not a lot of data," Dominic Gregorio, senior environmental scientist with the State Water Resources Control Board, told the Associated Press. "So this is really a first step to be proactive and get ahead of the curve on this."