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Contaminated BOP eels a symptom of bigger problem

Contaminated BOP eels a symptom of bigger problem

Whakatane residents are unlikely to be the only New Zealanders at risk of eating wild foods contaminated with dioxins and timber treatment chemicals, the Green Party says.

Sixty warning signs are to be erected on Monday next to the Orini and Kopeopeo canals warning Bay of Plenty residents that they should not eat eels from those waterways because tests have found they have higher than acceptable levels of timber treatment chemicals.

"There are at least 400 other sites around New Zealand that are likely to be in a similar situation," Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg. Timber treatment chemicals, including dioxins, were dumped all over New Zealand, and, to make the situation worse, no one knows exactly where as there is no national register."

Green Party East Coast candidate and long-time toxins campaigner Catherine Delahunty says it is highly likely that people are gathering eels, watercress and even shellfish from river mouths, without the knowledge that they could well be eating dioxins and other dangerous chemicals.

"It is time that all local authorities and health authorities made a commitment to investigating potentially contaminated sites in their areas and ensuring that, as a first step to cleaning up the contamination, signs are erected to warn people of the dangers," Ms Delahunty says.

"It's courageous of Pacific Health DHB to take this step and erect these signs. I hope other DHBs will follow their lead."

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