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District Health Board Responds to 1080 Poison Concerns

Animal Carcasses and 1080 Poison Baits Contaminate Waterways - District Health Board Responds

Clyde Graf

Rural families all across New Zealand are being exposed to 1080 poison, and increased risks of bacteria from decomposing animal carcasses, in their drinking water. In August, two councillors from Waikato Regional Council presented concerns to the Waikato District Health Board's Medical Officers of Health, after many community members were unwittingly drawing water that had 1080 poison bait dropped directly into it. The Department of Conservation, one of the government agencies that undertake aerial 1080 poisoning operations, failed to appropriately inform the local residents.

A video covering several different incidents includes testimony from a Hawkes Bay family explaining how they were exposed to the poison while walking through a local forest. When they visited their hospital they were informed there wasn't much that could be done, as there was no test immediately available for 1080 poisoning.

When aerial operations are undertaken, poison bait is dropped directly into streams within the operational areas. Landcare Research states in their water testing protocol that "water samples taken within 8 hours of bait application are expected to provide the greatest likelihood of detecting any residual 1080." One of the conditions set by the Medical Officer of Health is that the poison operator provide mitigation if it's requested by household occupiers or managers of huts/camping grounds, until any water contamination is proved clear via water testing.

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However, the water testing undertaken under MoH guidelines is most often done after 24 hours to show the absence of the poison, not the presence - and when the poison has passed through, or been up-taken by aquatic, and plant life. These "clear" results are often pooled into data used to mis-inform the public that few water tests have returned positive results when operations are undertaken. It is like the police undertaking alcohol breath testing 2 days after someone is stopped for driving drunk, and stating the suspect's result was clear, and then using the pooled data to say people who drink are safe to drive.

Another risk facing rural dwellers is that the toxic animal carcasses that decompose in forest streams after poison drops, potentially increase the risk of bacterial contamination in water. At their August meeting the councillors presented additional wording they wanted added to public notifications that would allow communities to be better informed about pending, aerial poison drops. The councillors' recommendations would inform people, through the poison operators public notifications, that 1080 poison bait is being dropped directly into running water and that decomposing animal carcasses may be present.

However, the Waikato District Health Board's Medical Officer of Health, who has the authority to include additional conditions to their poison permission consents at a local level, is quoted as saying the proposed wording on "notifications could cause unnecessary anxiety to people".

To view the video, click on the link ...


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