Report shows need for methyl bromide recapture
Report shows need for methyl bromide
The Customs Service needs to urgently act to ensure ports have the ability to recapture methyl bromide in shipping containers in light of a damning report, Green Party biosecurity and customs spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.
A 2012 Customs Service report, which the Customs Service had failed to release to the public until forced to by an Official Information Act request, shows that 90% of shipping containers sampled had dangerous chemicals including methyl bromide in the air, with 18% above safe levels. Less than 1% of containers displayed correct fumigant signage.
“This report reveals a shocking level of dangerous chemicals are present in our shipping containers, endangering port workers and nearby communities,” said Mr Browning.
"The dangerous levels of methyl bromide identified at ports in containers and from log fumigations, is a particular concern. A neurotoxin, methyl bromide gas, has been linked with motor neurone disease and cancers, and is colourless, tasteless, and odourless, making it impossible for people to know if they are in contact with it. It also depletes the ozone layer.
“Port workers and nearby communities do not deserve exposure to toxic fumigant gases. We need to urgently put in place procedures to recapture methyl bromide from shipping containers and log fumigations, rather than just releasing it into the air we breathe.
“Recapture of methyl bromide fumigant is used at Port Nelson, following an Environment Court air quality case following the deaths of several port workers there from motor neurone disease.
“It is difficult to accept the Customs Service’s claim that they have fixed this issue, given that they kept this damning report from the public. I call on the Customs Service to release all data on the levels of toxic fumigants in shipping containers and to ensure that methyl bromide recapture is available at our ports,” said Mr Browning.