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ERMA's madness endangers exports and our health

4 July 2008
ERMA's madness endangers NZ beef exports and our health

It is madness that the Environmental Risk Management Authority is risking New Zealand's meat and dairy exports by continuing to allow the use of a highly toxic insecticide which is banned or heavily restricted in more than 50 countries, the Green Party says.

Endosulfan, an environmentally persistent chemical linked to breast cancer, has turned up for a second time in New Zealand beef exports to South Korea, our second largest beef market.

This incident comes just one week after ERMA recommended the continued use of endosulfan on fodder crops seedlings as well as on sport fields, parks, and bowling greens around New Zealand.

"It's time for the Government to step in and ban this insecticide in the interests of our valuable export markets and also in the interests of all New Zealanders, whose own health is put at risk through continued use of this toxic chemical," Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"It is particularly concerning that endosulfan residue has been discovered in South Korea, a country which has been rioting for the past months about potentially contaminated meat from the United States.

"It would devastate our economy if the same scale of protests occurred over our own exports.

"How can we maintain the façade of being clean and green when our exports are being repeatedly rejected because they have residues of one of the most toxic insecticides in the world?" Ms Kedgley asks.

"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.

"In New Zealand, it is widely used on 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.

"The Green Party reiterates its call for the Minister for the Environment to override EMRA's decision and immediately ban this dangerous chemical."

ends

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