Affect human health

As significant filter feeders, zebra mussels may increase human and wildlife exposure to organic pollutants such as PCB's and PAHs. Early research shows that zebra mussels can rapidly accumulate organic pollutants within their tissues to levels more than 300,000 times greater than concentrations in the environment. Through the introduction of another invasive aquatic fish, the round goby into Lake Erie, the problem of contaminants up the food chain have been exacerbated---the gobies prey primarily upon zebra mussels, and then, they in turn are preyed upon by smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, and walleye, which angler catch and eat. These contaminants can be passed up the food chain so that any fish or waterfowl consuming zebra mussels will also accumulate these organic pollutants. Likewise, human consumption of these same fish and waterfowl could result in further risk of exposure.

Other ANS invasions have been shown to pose additional health risks. A South American strain of human cholera bacteria was found in ballast tanks in the port of Mobile, Alabama in 1991. Cholera strains were also found in oyster and fin-fish samples in Mobile Bay, resulting in a public health advisory to avoid handling or eating raw oysters or seafood.