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Network dismayed by ERMA decision on Endosulfan

Breast Cancer Network NZ Inc Media Release - 2nd July 2008

ERMA's recommendation to continue the use of endosulfan in New Zealand dismays Breast Cancer Network

Breast Cancer Network NZ is very disturbed that ERMA has not recommended a ban on the use of the pesticide endosulfan in New Zealand. This acutely toxic organochlorine chemical has been used so widely that it is found in our food and water and is a contaminant of the environment and animal tissues all over the world.

Not only is endosulfan toxic, it is an endocrine-disrupting compound which may be implicated in breast cancer. Even the milk we give to babies is not free of endosulfan. Early exposure of our children to hormone disrupting compounds may play an important role in New Zealand's high incidence of breast cancer. New Zealand needs to protect the health of its population, especially its most vulnerable members, from exposure to chemicals which endanger reproduction and hormonal function. To continue allowing the use of this chemical on our crops, fruit and vegetables, sports grounds and parks is unbelievably short-sighted and harmful.

Breast Cancer Network NZ has a project that aims to reduce the risk of breast cancer and has called on the Government to introduce a strategy with similar aim which recognises the role of environmental chemicals. ERMA should have been guided by the decisions of the 55 countries that have already banned endosulfan. By reducing endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as endosulfan in the environment we would have a better chance of reducing the incidence of breast cancer in our country, at present one of the highest in the world.


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