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ERMA ok's continued use of highly toxic pesticides

30 June 2008

ERMA ok's continued use of one of world's worst pesticides

The Green Party says it is shocked ERMA has recommended the continued use of endosulfan, a highly toxic chemical banned in many western countries, and is calling on the Minister for the Environment to review the decision.

ERMA has just released its assessment of endosulfan and recommended its continued use in New Zealand.

Endosulfan is widely used in vegetables and berry fruit, on citrus and on sports grounds to control earth worms. In a recent survey, residues of endosulfan were found in 50 percent of New Zealand tomatoes.

"This decision jeopardises the health of New Zealanders, our aquatic ecosystems and, with many western countries banning endosulfan, our international reputation," Ms Kedgley says.

Endosulfan has been linked to breast cancer, birth defects, behavioural conditions and Parkinson's disease. It affects the central nervous system, and long term exposure has also been shown to affect the kidneys, liver and reproductive systems.

"It is well known that endosulfan is highly toxic to aquatic life; it does not break down, and is readily passed along the food chain. Levels in mammals at the top of the aquatic food chain, such as whales, dolphins and seals, are increasing.

"When I heard that ERMA was reassessing this highly toxic pesticide, I was confident that it would do the only safe and ethical thing and recommend it be banned, as many other countries have already done.

"In their Application for Reassessment, ERMA state that they have not considered the implications for global contamination, nor have they considered the effects on marine mammals."

Ms Kedgley says she will ask the Minister for the Environment to 'call in' the reassessment application, and make a final decision on whether or not to allow this pesticide to continue to be used in New Zealand.

"The Minister has the power to call-in an application that will have significant cultural, economic, environmental, ethical, health, international, or spiritual effects - and there is no doubt that endosulfan has all those effects."


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