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Moth spray needs health check-up

Moth spray needs health check-up

Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley is calling for an urgent Government-funded independent inquiry into the health effects of the painted apple moth insecticide Foray 48B.

The Government should also immediately reconsider its ill-advised decision to keep the ingredients of the spray secret, Ms Kedgley said. "People have a right to know what they are being exposed to and any potential health risks so they can get proper medical advice."

Ms Kedgley said the need for an independent inquiry was urgent, as the spray zone was growing all the time, bringing more and more people into the risk area - now up to 200,000. Based on the Government's admission that at least 5% of people sprayed would be likely to suffer adverse health effects, a minimum of 10,000 people are at risk. "That's 10,000 too many."

"The government cannot continue to ignore the huge numbers of people are suffering health problems from this spray -especially when it has an explicit obligation under the Health Act 1956 to protect and promote public health," Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley's call for an independent inquiry and full disclosure of ingredients follows a report released today by pesticide expert Meriel Watts, a member of the Pesticides Board and agrichemical trespass ministerial advisory committee. The report outlines flaws in the Health Risk Assessment which the Government relied on to justify the aerial spray campaign.

Dr Watts points out that the health risks from the combination of unnamed chemicals are unknown, and that the Health Risk Assessment did not take into account ongoing exposure to Foray 48B.

"The assessment was based on people being exposed only once for each spray run, when some people are actually being directly exposed up to six times a day," Ms Kedgley said.

Ms Kedgley said she agreed with the legal opinion by Sir Geoffrey Palmer's, obtained by the anti-spray lobby group Stop Aerial Spraying, which notes that a growing number of health problems are being experienced gives rise to the need for local authorities to act.

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