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Health Officials Warn Of Arsenic Levels In Hand-Dug Clams

July 15, 2015

 The Oregon Health Authority issued an advisory Monday for soft-shell clams along the Oregon Coast after health officials tested high levels of naturally-occurring arsenic in the clams.

The advisory affects people who dig their own clams soft-shell clams, because they aren't commercially available. No other shellfish is affected.

OHA recommends removing the skin from the siphon of the clams if people plan to eat them, which brings arsenic in the clams to non-toxic levels.

Arsenic levels varied along the coast. The Department of Environmental Quality found that clams along the northern coast tested highest for the toxin.

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Oregon health officials have warned people to take caution when eating soft-shell clams after the siphons, or necks of the clam species Mya arenaria, have been found in tests to contain unsafe levels of arsenic.

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