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National Dioxin Standards Required Immediately

New Zealand urgently needs to develop national environmental standards on dioxin emissions, in light of a report soon to be released by the United States Government on the carcinogenic effects of dioxin, Green MP Sue Kedgley said today.

"It is extraordinary that we still have no environmental standard to control emissions from this human carcinogen in New Zealand," she said.

"Urgent regulations need to be put in place to require industry to report on and deduce their releases of dioxins, she said. As well, significant contributors of dioxin emissions such as medical incinerators, should be phased out."

"There is a major international effort to tighten regulations surrounding dioxin sources, and to reduce the emissions of dioxins into the environment, Ms Kedgley said.

"New Zealand is lagging behind. We have spent many years studying the problem in New Zealand. It's now time to take concrete steps to reduce dioxin emissions in the environment."

Ms Kedgley said it was also time that Vietnam war veterans and their families who were exposed to the effects of dioxin defoliants like Agent Orange were properly compensated for health effects and given full medical treatment.

"It is ironic that our soldiers risked their lives in combat only to be left to die a much less heroic death from cancer years later because of the Agent Orange military experiment."

According to the Vietnam Veterans Association over 300 ex-soldiers exposed to Agent Orange have now died in New Zealand from cancer and sudden heart failure. Four of them were buried in the last month.

Ends

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6728, 025 270 9088 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133


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