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EPA announces sampling results of land crabs in Tanapag, Northern Mariana Islands

Release Date: 9/22/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711,

HONOLULU - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that recent sampling results show about 70 percent of all land crabs tested in and around the Tanapag Village in CNMI had no presence of PCBs and the levels of PCBs and pesticides found in the remaining land crabs are at levels that would not harm human health.

The latest round of sampling conducted in February shows a dramatic decrease in PCB levels of the Tanapag land crabs so that they are now safe to eat. The exception is in the area called Homestead 2 near the Beach Park, where the PCB concentration in land crabs has declined, but some low level PCB contamination remains in the crabs from past releases in this area.

"The data demonstrates that the soil cleanup was effective in removing PCB contamination from the Village and its native food source," said Michelle Rogow, on-scene coordinator for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region?s Emergency Response Section. "These sampling results allow the residents of Saipan to go back to the lifestyle they have enjoyed with no fear of PCB contamination."

The EPA is recommending that if residents eat crabs only from the Homestead 2 area, they should consume crabs less than 12 meals per month. If land crabs are consumed from a variety of locations within the area, including Homestead 2, no limits on consumption are necessary. With this new information, the EPA is recommending that the CNMI DPH revise the existing land crab public health advisory accordingly.

A ban on eating land crabs from the area where polychlorinated biphenyls had contaminated soil was put into effect in July 2001.

Copies of all sampling reports are available for public review at the CNMI DEQ office.

PCBs were used in industrial and commercial applications including electrical, heat transfer, and hydraulic equipment and many other applications. PCBs have been shown to cause cancer and a number of serious non-cancer health effects in both humans and animals, including effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.

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