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MAF Must Protect Children From Spray Says Kedgley

11 February 2002

Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley today called on Government to take a precautionary approach and ensure that children are not exposed to any adverse health effects from direct aerial spraying.

"Provision should be made for children to be removed from the area if spraying takes place on a weekday, for example by taking them on field trips outside the area," she said.

"Alternatively MAF should schedule the next bout of spraying of the Painted Apple Moth larvae for a weekend, which would give parents the option of getting their children out of the area for the day or keeping them inside in a more sealed-off environment while the spraying is done."

Ms Kedgley said she agreed with concerns expressed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's community consultation group that children could be exposed to higher levels of spray if they were in school buildings at the time.

"There is no point MAF putting its head in the sand and denying there is any health risk to children from its aerial spray programme, when public health officials acknowledge it is difficult to prove whether the spray programme is safe or not.

"In the absence of certainty, the Government has a responsibility to take a precautionary approach and protect our children who are particularly susceptible to pesticide spraying."

Ms Kedgley said international research shows that children have a greater potential health risk from sprays than adults, absorb greater concentrations of pesticides per pound of body weight through inhalation than adults, and are extremely vulnerable to many synthetic pesticides.

Government has refused to divulge what chemicals or other ingredients are in the spray known as Foray 48B, that will be sprayed over West Auckland in the coming weeks.

However research on Foray 48B overseas shows that it contains approximately 38 chemicals including some that are known to cause health problems such as allergic reactions, especially amongst vulnerable groups such as those who are chemically sensitive or have allergies, children and the elderly.


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