DOH to present arsenic urine testing results

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The Hawaii State Department of Health will hold a public discussion on the results of the urine arsenic testing of community members from the 8 1/2 and 9 1/2 Mile Camps Monday night at the Keaau Community Center from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Testing was offered at the camps for arsenic in urine after elevated levels of arsenic were found in the soil of adjacent gardens.

The arsenic is believed to be related to the use of herbicides in sugar cane fields during the 1920s through 1940s.

"The investigation could not determine if living, gardening or playing near arsenic contaminated soil and bringing residual soil or dirt into the home from normal household activities contributed to urine arsenic levels," said Barbara Brooks, DOH Toxicologist.

Brooks says the test results for the majority of adults and children tested for urine arsenic were similar to people who frequently eat seafood, seaweed, rice and other foods containing arsenic.

The DOH does not recommend that people change their diet, however the department does recommend that they follow general food safety guidelines by washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them.