State: Don't eat the fish off Kaneohe Marine Corps Base fuel pier

State: Don't eat the fish off Kaneohe Marine Corps Base fuel pier

KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - If you catch fish or shellfish in the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii fuel pier, don't eat them.

That's the message from the state Health Department, which is warning residents that the marine life in the area may contain unsafe levels of harmful chemicals.

The state said Wednesday that preliminary tests of two species of goatfish caught in the waters have unsafe levels of PCBs, a banned compound. Limited sampling of sediment in the area also found high levels of PCBs.

Health Department toxicologist Barbara Brooks said a single big meal or a few meals with fish caught in the area likely wouldn't cause illness. But frequent consumption of fish in the waters might put a person at higher risk of cancer or other diseases.

PCBs were banned in 1976, and were used extensively in electrical equipment, plastics and other items.

Fish accumulate PCBs when eating sediment or smaller fish with PCBs.

An ongoing investigation shows the likely source of PCBs off the Marine Corps base were PCB-containing dielectric fluids from electrical transformers that may have leaked or spilled into the soil at the salvage yard.

The salvage site was used to store excess construction and building materials during the 1940s and 1950s.

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