Halt! Put down that oyster!

There may yet come a day when we have to register with the government before consuming oysters: They're practically lethal weapons. But damn, they just taste so good! Florida Trend reports today that a fire-retardant chemical, which is banned in most countries, has been found in oysters from Saint John's County (that's in the high northeast section of the state), one of the few places oyster harvesting is still allowed in Northeast Florida. 

A Florida Times Union story had this to say:

The substance, called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), has a similar chemical structure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were banned decades ago as a health hazard.

The compound has been shown to cause liver, thyroid, and behavioral problems in animals. It's an issue not just for oyster eaters. The presence of PBDE's signals problems for the health of the river and its adjacent bays.

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Gail Shepherd
Contact: Gail Shepherd