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Thousands of tonnes of sprays threaten health

The 3,300 tonnes of chemicals sprayed onto New Zealand farms last year threatens the health of New Zealanders and degrades the soil, our waterways and our biodiversity, the Green Party says.

An Agriculture and Forestry Ministry report issued yesterday revealed the chemical use.

Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said it was alarming to discover that the staple vegetables and fruit New Zealanders eat, including potatoes, onions, apples, broccoli and other fruit, were the most heavily sprayed with pesticides.

"Some of the pesticides used on these commonly eaten fruit and vegetables are known to cause cancer, immune system damage, to interfere with fertility and cause other adverse health effects - even in tiny residual amounts.

"By continually spraying our crops with pesticides, we are exposing New Zealanders to continual amounts of pesticide residues in the produce they eat every day," Ms Kedgley said.

"It is time we addressed the health effects of the pesticide residues New Zealanders are being continually exposed to in their daily diet."

It made no sense to continue spending large amounts of money on treating people who became sick and were hospitalised, if we did not address the fundamental causes of illness, such as pesticides in our daily food, she said.

"As a nation we must move away from chemically dependent farming and embrace sustainable, organic farming systems which promote our health and well being and offer premium returns for our exports."


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