Toxic chemicals found at Taranaki playground

Jun 09, 2009

Toxic chemicals have been found at a New Plymouth children’s playground.

Two drums containing chemicals were found by workers laying a stormwater drain in May at Marfell Park, the site of the city’s former dump, the Taranaki Daily News reported.

After further excavation, at least seven other drums were found, Taranaki Regional Council director of environment quality Gary Bedford said.

The chemicals – tetrachlorobenzene and trichlorophenol, both used in the manufacture of herbicides – were not a public health risk, Mr Bedford said.

But long-time dioxin campaigner Andrew Gibbs told the paper it was a “concern when you find those levels of chemicals under a children’s playground”.

The council launched an investigation in 2001 after fears that a cancer-causing dioxin waste from the Ivon Watkins Dow agrichemical plant in the New Plymouth suburb of Paritutu was buried at sites around the city.

Mr Gibbs said he believed the find proved the council’s investigation which found no evidence of illegal dumping at 31 alleged contaminated sites, including Marfell Park, had been wrong.

Last year the Government announced it would provide free annual health checks to people who lived or worked near or at the former herbicide plant.

Jun 09, 2009 | NZPA | nzherald.co.nz | NEWS-2009-M06-09-001
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