D-Day for dioxin-scare residents

Sep 9, 2004

People who lived within sniffing distance of the Dow AgroSciences weedkiller factory in New Plymouth will today learn if their blood is contaminated with dioxin.

They will get the results of an Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) study, made last year, which compared dioxin levels in 50 residents’ blood with the results of a 1997 national blood study by the Environment Ministry.

The people in the latest study are those who may have been exposed to dioxin from the factory in the 1960s and 1970s.

One of the study participants, Paritutu resident Doug West, 78, said he had been told he would be given his test results at 8am today.

He took part in the study to debunk claims of contamination and ill health arising from the plant.

He said he was a good candidate because he had lived in the area since 1958 and was healthy apart from two hip replacements.

“In my opinion all this talk on dioxin is a load of bullshit.”

But, Andrew Gibbs, of the Dioxin Investigation Network, said dioxin-linked herbicides in New Zealand were responsible for cancers, birth defects and other health problems.

“What we are dealing with is New Zealand’s Chernobyl,” he said.
Roy Drake, 55, attributes his multiple sclerosis to exposure to chemicals from the Dow plant.

He has lived in Paritutu all his life. He said that because of the disease his legs were paralysed and his sight and hearing had been diminished.

By Martin Johnston | nzherald.co.nz  | Sep 9, 2004
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