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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 24) – A representative from the U.S. Department of Human and Health Service is here to assist the Departments of Public Health and Public Lands in conducting a study on injuries and health problems caused by unexploded World War II munitions in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Susan Muza, senior regional representative of the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, said in a press briefing yesterday that they will provide technical assistance in gathering the needed data.

Muza said she had a chance to talk to a local woman who told her about her dog bringing home a World War II grenade. Her husband washed the grenade and brought it back to the boonies.

Muza said anyone who finds unexploded ordnance, or UXO, should inform the authorities.

The CNMI is now collecting data regarding injuries involving UXOs, including information about people involved in dynamite fishing in the past.

Franz Reksid, special assistant to DPL Secretary John Del Rosario, said this will be the first full-scale official study on UXOs to be carried out in the CNMI.

He said the federal brownsfield grants that DPL was awarded several months ago will finance the study that is to start by the end of the month.

Contracts for environmental specialists from the private sector are now being worked out, he said.

Jim Callier, special assistant to Division of Environmental Quality Director Frank Rabauliman, said it is very fortunate to have different teams looking into UXOs on island.

He said they are considering extending the project to Tinian and other CNMI islands.

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