Health Department Issues Razor Clam Advisory Over Health Concerns

For immediate release: October 7, 2016                                                     (16-116)

Contact:          Dave Johnson, Strategic Communications Office                 360-545-2944

Health Department Issues Razor Clam Advisory Over Health Concerns

OLYMPIA -- Washington State Department of Health (DOH) issued an interim advisory today due to potential health risks associated with eating large quantities of razor clams harvested from the Washington coast.

DOH recommends that people eat no more than 15 razor clams per month during a one-year period.

This interim advisory applies to everyone, especially women who are pregnant or might become pregnant, nursing mothers, children, the elderly, and people with compromised renal function.

The Community Advancing the Study of Tribal Nations Across the Lifespan study shows eating large amounts of razor clams with low-levels of domoic acid may cause memory problems.

Universities of Maryland, Hawaii, and Florida, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and several coastal tribes conducted research to evaluate long-term exposure to low-levels of domoic acid from eating razor clams.

Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin frequently found in shellfish and at high-levels it may cause Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning. When domoic acid levels in razor clams reach 20 parts per million, the state closes harvesting areas.

The interim health advisory will remain in effect while DOH gathers more information on the potential health risks associated with low-level exposure to domoic acid. For the latest information on shellfish safety, visit DOH’s shellfish safety webpage.

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