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For Survey Into Health And Dioxins In New Plymouth

Greenpeace Supports Residents Call For Survey Into Health And Dioxins In New Plymouth

3 November 2000: Auckland: Greenpeace supports the New Plymouth residents call for an investigation into health effects which may be linked to dioxin contamination in the area, at a public meeting in New Plymouth on Tuesday night.

“Greenpeace was asked to the meeting to listen to the community’s concern about dioxins issues in the area”, said Greenpeace toxics campaigner Sue Connor. “The anecdotal evidence of high levels of cancers and other illness, which can be associated with dioxin contamination, is of very real concern.”

A speaker at the meeting stated that they had witnessed former Ivon Watkins Dow chemical drums being dumped and buried around New Plymouth.

“The allegation that chemical drums were dumped around New Plymouth is of huge concern”, said Connor. “These people are entitled to be told what was in those drums, especially when houses are now built on the identified sites.”

Dioxins are one of the most dangerous chemicals known. The chemical, 245-T, manufactured at the former Ivon Watkins Dow site is known to contain the dioxin which does cause cancer, and is linked to reproductive failure and birth defects.

“Greenpeace is calling on the government to stand up and protect peoples health and the environment by agreeing to the aim of eliminating dioxins under an international toxics treaty”, said Connor. “New Zealand is one of a small handful of countries who are currently refusing to agree to eliminate dioxins whereas the vast majority of nations have agreed to do so.”

“The New Zealand government will be making its decision on the international toxics treaty in late November”, said Connor. “This will be a test to see if this government is willing to stand up to protect the environment and peoples health or whether it will sweep the dangers of dioxins under the carpet”.

People can have their say on the New Zealand toxics treaty position by checking out the toxics map website on www.greenpeace.org.nz/toxics-map where they can send an electronic letter to their Member of Parliament and the Minister for the Environment, calling on the government to aim to eliminate dioxins.

For more information contact Sue Connor, Greenpeace toxics campaigner on (09) 630 6317 or (025) 790 817.

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