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More Pierce County Beaches Closed Due To Paralytic Shellfish Poison

September 14, 2012


Tacoma-Pierce County WA -  September 14, 2012 - Unusually high levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) toxins were found in Commencement Bay shellfish. Toxin levels have been increasing since last reports in August, and more Pierce County beaches have been closed as a result. Recreational shellfish harvesting closures are in effect for all but a small portion of Pierce County beaches.

PSP toxins are not visible in the water or in shellfish. Eating shellfish contaminated with PSP toxins can be fatal. The toxins cannot be destroyed by cooking or freezing. PSP toxins can only be detected by laboratory testing.

Conditions are changing rapidly and there will likely be more areas closed in the very near future. Recreational shellfish harvesters are advised to call the Washington State Department of Health Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 or access the Biotoxin website at www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/biotoxin.htm before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Puget Sound.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has posted signs in impacted areas of the county, including Ruston Way, Dash Point County Park, Brown’s Point Park, Owens Beach, Point Defiance boathouse, Narrows Park, Day Island marina, Wollochet Bay boat launch, Fox Island Bridge, Solo Beach, Saltars Point, and Sunrise Beach County Park warning people to not eat shellfish from these areas. The closure includes clams, oysters, mussels, scallops and other species of mollusks. Crabs and shrimp are not included in the closure. Commercial beaches are sampled separately and commercial products should be safe to eat.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to safeguard and enhance the health of the communities of Pierce County. As part of its mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

Media Contact
Brad Harp, Water Resources Program (253) 798-2851 bharp@tpchd.org
Frank DiBiase, Deputy Director, Environmental Health (253) 798-7674 fdibiase@tpchd.org

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