Sherry Broder


Heptachlor Study Will Track Isle Students

The pineapple pesticide found its way into the state's milk supply 16 years ago

Monday, November 30, 1998

Some 200 teen-agers who were exposed to the pesticide heptachlor in tainted island milk in 1982 will be the subject of a yearlong study.

The $775,000 study, commissioned by the Hawaii Heptachlor Research and Education Fund, is the second epidemiological study on the long-term health effects of the pineapple pesticide that found its way into the state's milk supply 16 years ago.

Sherry Broder, attorney who handled the lawsuit, said the study is part of a $4 million settlement to claims made from the heptachlor exposure.

So far, Broder said nothing of concern has been discovered.

Besides studies, the settlement money has been used to fund research into the pesticide and to develop educational and teaching materials, Broder said.

"I would say at the present time nothing has been discovered that would cause a parent to become concerned with regard to heptachlor," Broder said.

Broder said the current study, which will be conducted by Dr. Dean Baker of the University of California at Irvine, will match the neurological behavior and academic achievements of 200 Oahu heptachlor babies against 100 students who were not born on Oahu and not exposed to the pineapple pesticide.

However, these 100 students will have lived on Oahu for the past 10 years and will have attended island schools.

"These (200) students are now 15 and 16 years old, and it will probably be the last opportunity we will have to test them," Broder said.

Baker did an earlier, $900,000 study where blood samples from heptachlor babies were tested.

"There were no flags raised from that study," she said.

Heptachlor made its way into the milk supply through pineapple tops that were fed to cows.

Thousands of gallons of milk had to be dumped in 1982 when it was discovered that heptachlor had made its way into the supply.

By then several hundreds of babies had been drinking it for months.

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