1 Mar 2004

Suspect soil in Cook Islands found not to be contaminated

7:02 am on 1 March 2004

A New Zealand environmental scientist says no contaminants have been found in soil and water samples taken from a sports field at Titikaveka in the Cook Islands.

Chris Simpson, of URS New Zealand, had spent several days in Rarotonga collecting soil, ground water and surface water samples.

He said none of the samples he collected contained any contaminants at levels that posed a risk to human health.

Earlier there had been concerns of high levels of chromium in the soil.

But Mr Simpson said the concentration was similar to that found in soils in Auckland and were not dangerous.

The Cook Islands Ministry of Health announced more than a week ago that a World Health Organisation scientist believed an algal bloom was responsible for a spate of health problems at Titikaveka in December and January.