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Soft-Shell Clam Advisory Issued For Oregon Coast


A soft-shell clam advisory has been issued for the Oregon coast. The clams contain high levels of naturally occurring arsenic which can cause harmful health effects over long periods of time.

Credit traveloregon.com

Oregon soft-shell clams are not served in restaurants. The advisory is for people who dig their own clams.

Jonathan Modie with Oregon Public Health says long-term exposure to the arsenic in clams is a serious concern, but there are no immediate health risks associated with eating clams. He says the risk of arsenic exposure is significantly reduced if the clam neck is removed.

Modie “Not a lot of people consume these soft shell clams and the risk of exposure is low and very low, extremely low if you take that one small step to remove that siphon skin of this clam.”

There’s more naturally occurring arsenic on Oregon’s northern coast than elsewhere. Modie says consumption recommendations vary depending on where people dig.

He says the advisory will likely be in place for the next several years.

Modie says the chronic long-term exposure to arsenic can increase the risk of cancer of the skin, bladder and lungs. It also carries the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological problems.

Copyright 2015 KLCC

Corrine Bayer
Corrine is a volunteer reporter from University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.