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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, July 21, 2003

Maui water still causing skin troubles

Associated Press

PUKALANI, Maui — Some Upcountry Maui residents continue to suffer from skin irritation even though a chemical suspected of causing the problem was removed from their water system in April.

It appears some people are still reacting to the water, state district health officer Lorrin Pang said this past week.

State Rep. Kika Bukoski, R-12th (Upcountry Maui), renewed his call for the development of a groundwater source for the Upcountry system.

County Board of Water Supply member Ginny Parsons, whose husband suffers from the irritation, agreed with the proposal.

"I haven't heard of anybody that's felt that much better," Parsons said.

The water in the Upcountry system comes from surface sources and is acidic.

To prevent lead leaching from pipes and fixtures, the chemical zinc orthophosphate was added to the water. But complains of skin irritation followed, so the chemical additive was changed to phosphoric acid in April.

Pang said a telephone survey, conducted by three University of Hawai'i medical students assigned to his office, validated claims that some Upcountry water users suffer from the irritation.