Friday, March 07, 2014

Paritutu: Ivon Watkins Dow (IWD) top official confesses

People in Paritutu, New Plymouth, where for several decades the agrichemical company, Ivon Watkins Dow (IWD) made herbicides 245T and 24D, have long been convinced that their illnesses and those of their children were caused by exposure to dioxin. It's now clear that dioxin-laced Agent Orange was being made at IWD, and worst of all, it's still there.

Former Dow top official confesses Vietnam secret
In 2005 former New Zealand Transport Safety Minister and New Plymouth MP Harry Duynhoven created a sensation by claiming that the Dow plant in New Zealand had made and exported Agent Orange for use in the Vietnam War.  
Duynhoven told the Sunday News he had proof that the products used to make Agent Orange - 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D - were shipped from the Taranaki wharves in the 1960s to the American base at Subic Bay in the Philippines for use in the Vietnam War.  
This contradicted years of denials by Ivon Watkins Dow - now Dow AgroSciences - and confirmed the earlier confession of an anonymous Dow executive. 
In 2000, a former top official at New Plymouth's lvon Watkins Dow chemical factory gave an anonymous interview to Investigate Magazine. 'There have been rumours circulating for some time, never proven, that IWD was supplying the defoliant Agent Orange to be used in the Vietnam War. The allegation is true. I was on the management committee of Ivon Watkins Dow, and I supported the plan to export Agent Orange. In fact, it went ahead on my casting vote.'  
People who'd served in the armed forces made a strong case for the need to defoliate the jungle, because of the risk to servicemen from ambush or sniper fire from the undergrowth. So we began manufacturing this Agent Orange, but it didn't meet the international specifications and probably had an excess of 'nasties' in it. The problem was, we didn't consider the product was harmful to humans at the time.
Our {NZ} scientists relied on assurances and technical data provided to them by Dow Chemicals in the USA. 
We were led to believe it was safe. 
The whole reason I supported Agent Orange is because we thought we were giving our boys on the ground a hand.

"To avoid detection, we shipped the Agent Orange to South America - Mexico if I recall correctly - and it was on-shipped to its final destination from there."

The official, who proved his identity and executive-ranking in documents provided to Investigate, also confirmed the worst fears of residents - part of the town may be sitting on a secret toxic waste dump containing the deadly Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange. 

He says the company owned a large piece of land 'very close to the chemical plant, which we called "the Experimental Farm". We bulldozed big pits and dumped thousands of tonnes of chemicals there.'

And what did the chemical cocktail include? 


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