As filter-feeders, shellfish are are especially prone to accumulating almost any contaminants which may be present in the water. They process massive amounts of water to obtain their food, and in doing so they gradually accumulate dangerous levels of chemicals that may be present in the water. Like raspberryorchid said, many can survive in “unclean” water, but they are less safe to eat than other species which may not be as prone to accumulating environmental toxins.
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