EXCLUSIVE: Study shows toxic chemicals remain in vacant lot near - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: Study shows toxic chemicals remain in vacant lot near Maili homes

MAILI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The electrical transformers that once sat on concrete slabs in a Maili vacant lot are long gone. But their toxic legacy remains.

Those transformers contained highly toxic chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which remain in the ground.

A recent study by consultants working for the U.S. Coast Guard found elevated levels of PCBs in 30 of the areas tested.

One of the samples contained levels 95 times what's considered safe for residential areas.

"They found it in many levels, levels off the chart. It poses a high risk," said environmental activist Carroll Cox. "There's people living to the right here. There's a community center to the left."

PCBs are a suspected carcinogen and the United States has banned their production. Prior to the 1970s, these chemicals were used as coolant fluids in electrical equipment such as transformers.

The Maili property is part of the former Voice of America radio transmitter site that was used during the Cold War. The 89-acre property was later taken over by the Coast Guard, which transferred a big chunk of the land to the state.

Kamehameha Schools operates its Maili Community Learning Center just a stone's throw from where the former transformer sites are located.

The vacant lot also is located next to several residential housing projects.

Cox said that at the very least, warning signs should be posted. And because it's close to a school, he said, the property should be cleaned up immediately.

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