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By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 11) - Aside from the many health problems linked to chewing betel nuts, cleaning up their stains costs some US$8,000 a year, according to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Public Health.

Chailang Palacios of the division’s health promotion and nutrition program said betel nut juice stains walkways and yards.

"Removing betel nut spit stains is estimated at US$8,000 per year," said Palacios in the Division of Public Health’s newsletter, Asunton Hinemlo.

She added that opening a moving vehicle door to spit betel nut is also against the law and can cause road accidents.

To prevent transmission of diseases and stains on surfaces, Palacios said betel nut chewers should spit into spit bottles and cans, or in covered trash cans.

Betel nut chewing costs the CNMI millions of dollars due to medical treatment costs, productivity loss and mortality rate, especially when combined with tobacco and lime use.

May 12, 2005

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