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PORTLAND, Maine

State officials say they only recently learned of lobster contamination

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State officials say they have been slow to react to studies showing mercury in a small portion of Maine lobster because they only recently became aware that contamination levels had surpassed safety thresholds set by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Multiple studies have been conducted by Maine and federal agencies to monitor mercury contamination in the Penobscot River. The Maine Department of Marine Resources said it did not act earlier because only the most recent federally mandated study showed mercury levels that exceeded the CDC safety level. The state is closing a small area at the mouth of the river to lobster harvesting for at least two years as a precautionary measure.

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