PCP study long overdue - union
The union that has been campaigning for years for recognition of the damage done to timber workers by PCP is welcoming today’s announcement of a research programme, saying it is time that science caught up with reality.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that the benchmark for proving that a worker’s ill-health had been caused by PCP-exposure had been set so high that it was impossible to meet.
“ACC has set a very high threshold for recognising claims, and medical science hasn’t been able to meet it,” he said.
“This announcement today means that perhaps science is going to catch up.”
It was research commissioned by the union, which represents timber workers, that drew the Government’s attention to the problems facing workers who had worked with PCP, or pentachlorophenol. This lead to today’s announcement that the Government would fund a $520,000-research project to investigate whether PCP exposure had contributed to ill-health among timber workers.
Mr Little said that PCP had continued to be used in New Zealand long after it was banned in other countries, and that workers had had little protection from the substance.
“When you hear about these people’s work history and the extent of the exposure, it’s difficult not to conclude that their health problems were caused by PCP,” he said.
The EPMU will be involved in monitoring the research.