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Red tide closes Pierce Co. clam beds

Fri., Aug. 13, 2010, 7:56 a.m.

State health officials have closed most Pierce County beaches to shellfish harvesting because of red tide.

Red tide is a naturally occurring neurotoxin that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning if consumed. The News Tribune of Tacoma reports that the Health Department found potentially fatal levels in shellfish samples collected from Day Island and Penrose Point.

The closure includes Carr Inlet and the eastern shoreline of Pierce County from King County down into Thurston County.

The closure covers clams, oysters, mussels and scallops and other mollusks, but not crab or shrimp.

Commercial beaches are sampled separately and officials say commercial products should be safe to eat.

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