Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Pesticide Expert says: Stop spraying humans

Pesticide Expert says: Stop spraying humans with Foray 48B

Dr Meriel Watts, a member of the Pesticides Board and the Agrichemical Trespass Ministerial Advisory Committee says she supports constitutional lawyer, Sir Geoffrey Palmer's opinion that: “Aerial Spraying of the Auckland community must cease.”

Dr Watts today released a detailed critical analysis of the Health Risk Assessment on which MAF and Cabinet rely. Her analysis shows that the Health Risk Assessment is flawed in many ways, including failure to account for inhalation of Benzoic acid, one of the chemical components of the spray.

Says Dr Watts: “The government is clearly mistaken in believing it has the evidence on which to base its assurances that aerial spraying of human populations with Foray 48B is safe and that the health effects suffered by Aucklanders are minor. On the contrary there is evidence both scientific and experiential to support the community’s concerns about adverse health effects caused by the spray.”

Dr Watts argues in her report released today that:

The Health Risk Assessment (HRA) for the Foray 48B aerial spraying programme identifies most of the symptoms reported by the West Auckland community during or after the aerial spraying. These include eye, nose, throat and skin irritation, nausea, headache, aggravation of asthma, and anxiety and anger.

The HRA for the current spray programme concludes that the risks from these effects are “small”. This has subsequently been interpreted as the spray having a “proven safety record”, a “clean bill of health” and to be “harmless to humans and animals” - which is not what the HRA said.

The HRA is flawed for reasons which include:

Failure to take heed of the symptoms previously reported by exposed communities because no link could be proven (e.g. Operation Evergreen in East Auckland, 1996-7);

An assessment of exposure that differs significantly from the actual exposure: the assessment assumed that people would be exposed only once per spray event, when in fact some people have been directly exposed up to six times per day, together with ongoing exposure to residual spray in homes and work places;

Failure to describe the risk of inhalation of the chemical components of the spray, relying only on data for dermal contact and ingestion, when it is known that some chemical are many times more toxic by inhalation;

In particular, failure to identify the inhalation risk for one of the ingredients, benzoic acid: whilst benzoic acid is regarded as being of low toxicity when ingested, except to those people allergic to it, there is no known safe level of exposure by inhalation;

The failure to identify the chemical ingredients in the formulated product so that the assessment can itself be assessed;

Failure to determine the effects of the mixture of chemicals that constitutes Foray 48B, allowing for synergistic or additive effects, as opposed to assessing each chemical as if it were the only chemical to which people would be exposed, when it is known that mixtures can be significantly more toxic;

Failure to determine the effects of ongoing low dose exposure, as opposed to one-off exposure to toxic levels, when it is known that this can result in chemical sensitivity.

Sue Berman, spokesperson for the Stop Aerial Spraying Network, which commissioned Dr Watts' report at the request of Sir Geoffrey Palmer to assist him in providing them with a legal opinion about MAF’s aerial spraying programme for painted apple moth, said today that Dr Watts’ 26 page report "makes alarming reading for those of us who are being exposed to the poison."

"Dr Watts has told us that foetuses and children are more susceptible to chemical poisoning from pesticides than adults. West Auckland has a very young population,” said Ms Berman.

Stop Aerial Spraying has sent Dr Watts’ report to all MP’s of electorates in the spray zone, seven of whom are Labour MP’s.

“The time has come for them to tell their government that the people have had enough. If spraying continues through April, when Cabinet must review the programme, some areas will experience as many as 12 more sprays. Having read Dr Watts report no democratic government should allow so much as one more spray of a human population with this secret substance without the community’s express consent,” said Ms Berman.

Sue Berman said that the Stop Aerial Spraying Network was calling for: Immediate public disclosure of the ingredients of the spray All aerial spraying, both blanket and hot-spot spraying, to cease while a full health impact assessment of the effects of aerial spraying with Foray 48B is carried out. Safer approaches in future to pest eradication in the event of biosecurity breaches.


Background – Dr Meriel Watts

Dr Meriel Watts is an independent policy analyst with many years’ experience in the area of pesticides, particularly in the effects of human health and the environment. She has a PhD in the area of public policy from the University of Auckland and completed her PhD thesis in 2000 on the topic of “Ethical Pesticide Policy.”

A full copy of Dr Meriel Watts’ report can be downloaded from 7.30am, Tuesday, February 4, 2003 from http://www.geocities.com/no_spray/

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>

 

Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election