Ministry ‘underestimating’ toxic chemical issue

The union representing sawmill workers says the Ministry of Health may be underestimating the number of people who need help from exposure to a carcinogenic chemical used to treat timber.

The union representing sawmill workers says the Ministry of Health may be underestimating the number of people who need help from exposure to a carcinogenic chemical used to treat timber.

A package offered on Wednesday people exposed to PCPs when they worked at Whakatane Board Mills between the 1950s and 1980s includes a free annual health check, access to a dioxin helpline, a website and pamphlets.

The Health Ministry estimates that between 4000 and 8000 people may come forward to take up the checks, but the National Distribution Union says it could be many more, because PCP is only just being acknowledged as a problem.

The ministry says it will fund discussions about the possibility of research into the potential impacts of PCP on spouses, children and grandchildren.

Former sawmill worker Kereama Akuhara, who has a rare and incurable bone disease he believes was caused by dioxin exposure, says the health support service is a step in the right direction but falls short of what workers were expecting.

He welcomes the possibility of research into the potential impacts of PCP the families of those exposed to the chemicals.
From News, Updated at 10:04 am on 24 June 2010

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/34216/ministry-‘underestimating’-toxic-chemical-issue

 

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