ACC dioxin appeal declined by judge

LYN HUMPHREYS
23/08/2012 Taranaki Daily News

A former New Plymouth man has failed in his appeal to get ACC cover for extensive health problems he blames on dioxins from agri-chemical plant Ivon Watkins-Dow.

ACC declined cover for Gary Green for work-related gradual process injury by dioxin poisoning.

ACC ruled the injury was not shown to have been caused by Mr Green’s exposure in the course of his work tasks or work environment.

Mr Green claimed his exposure to dioxins in the atmosphere occurred when he worked for Steel and Tube NZ Ltd from 1985 to 1988.

The workplace was about 300m downwind of the Paritutu IWD agri-chemical plant.

In his submission documents, Mr Green alleged he worked in close proximity to an atmospheric discharge of dioxin in April 1986 when there was a mechanical failure at IWD, known as the IWD Bursting Disk Failure.

In his written decision released yesterday, Judge Ongley declined Mr Green’s appeal.

The judge ruled Mr Green’s argument concerning his exposure and his subsequent medical disorders depended on accepting Mr Green’s own conclusions derived from a “volume of complex material”.

While much of the primary material is apparently reliable, conclusions to be drawn from it require expert evaluation.”

But the court could not profess to draw the conclusions urged upon it by Mr Green, Judge Ongley said.

The court’s understanding of dioxin exposure, its measurement and consequences and the application of the science in relation to an individual claimant, was entirely dependent on appropriate expert evidence, he said.

The grounds for Mr Green’s appeal was that the ACC review was wrong to prefer the opinion of the toxicology panel and should have conducted a broader examination of Mr Green’s own evidence.

The toxicology panel’s view was that Mr Green’s exposure to dioxin would have been minimal.

Original Source

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