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Greens Welcome ERMA Decision on Endosulfan

15 December 2008

Greens Welcome ERMA Decision on Endosulfan

Green Party MPs Sue Kedgley and Catherine Delahunty expressed delight at today's decision by ERMA to ban the highly toxic insecticide endosulfan, effective from January 16th.

In September this year the Greens revealed that 18 councils were still spraying the hormone mimicking chemical on sports fields around New Zealand. The Councils were using endosulfan to kill earthworms. Worm casts allegedly cause balls to bounce and reduce the effectiveness of drainage under playing fields.

"During the ERMA reassessment process we discovered that this was just the tip of the iceberg. Private contractors were using it on bowling greens, croquette lawns, golf courses, and other private sports fields.

"We were unable to find out if it was also being used on school fields, as were ERMA, but this ban will certainly prevent any further such use," Ms Kedgley says.

Ms Delahunty says the Greens have also been very concerned about the ongoing problem of residues in produce, particularly tomatoes.

"Tomato eaters will soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief when this toxic chemical is gone from our food supply. It cannot be legally used after January 16th, although residues may still persist in the food for some months," Ms Delahunty says.

"Endosulfan has been linked to breast cancer, birth defects, behavioural conditions and Parkinson's disease as well as adverse effects on the central nervous system. Long term exposure has been linked to damage to the kidneys, liver and reproductive systems.

"Endosulfan is 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.

"We also welcome ERMA's decision to very promptly prevent any further imports after January 16th to prevent stock build up, and to require that left over stocks be removed from farms within a year. This is a responsible attitude to take towards the problem of stockpiles of obsolete chemicals, and has not always been the case in New Zealand.

"However we are very concerned about how the remaining stock will be disposed off. It must be safely stored in an appropriate hazardous waste facility," Ms Delahunty says.


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