Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Research into timber workers’ exposure to PCP

6 September 2004 Media Statement

Research into timber workers’ exposure to PCP

New research into the health of former timber workers exposed to pentachlorophenol (PCP) has been welcomed by Associate Labour Minister Ruth Dyson today.

The government is funding the $520,000 research project to be headed by Professor Neil Pearce of Massey University. His public health team will look into whether PCP exposure contributed to ill health among former timber workers.

The project will focus on whether workers exposed to PCP are dying earlier, getting cancer more often or, suffering more chronic health problems.

“Timber workers have lived with uncertainty for a long time. A number of former timber workers suffer from poor health that they believe was caused by exposure to PCP. This research will help to provide some certainty about the impact PCP exposure has had on their health,” Ruth Dyson said.

Former timber workers were exposed to PCP through its use as an anti-sapstain fungicide in sawmills. PCP was widely used in the New Zealand timber industry between the 1950s and the late 1980s as a method for preventing fungi from staining timber.

Workers involved in the treatment processes, or the subsequent handling of the treated timber, are known to have experienced significant exposure to PCP.

“Funding this work is important. It will help provide clarity around what has been a difficult issue, particularly for those former timber workers with health problems, and their families,” Ruth Dyson said.

The research project will run from April to December 2005 and will involve random samples from former timber workers.

Note: Brief question sheet attached.

When was PCP used?
From the 1950s through to the late 1980s pentachlorophenol (PCP) was widely used in the New Zealand timber industry.

What was it used for?
For most of this period it was used on nearly all freshly sawn timber produced in the country, predominantly radiata pine, and was routinely surface treated to prevent the proliferation of sapstain fungi. Sapstain fungus develops on the wood surface causing a blue-black discoloration to the wood.

How was it used?
The process involved dipping the timber in baths containing an aqueous solution of the sodium salt of PCP (NaPCP). In addition, pressure treatment with a PCP in oil mixture was used as an alternative to creosote as a preservative treatment.

How were workers exposed?
Workers involved in the treatment processes, or the subsequent handling of the treated timber, are known to have experienced significant exposure to PCP. Uptake was primarily through skin contact with PCP solutions or with the treated timber itself. The jobs with the potential for heavy exposure include the handling of the sludge formed in the bottom of dip tanks, and any process involving heating of PCP such as burning treated wood or welding structures, which had been contaminated with PCP.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news