Friday, March 07, 2014

The poisonous legacy of DOW New Zealand

"Let us spray": the poisonous legacy

In 2006, New Zealand's TV3 channel ran 

"Let Us Spray" Streaming Video here

A documentary by Investigative Reporter of the Year Melanie Reid. Reid's film examined the many reported cases of birth defects in New Plymouth and around the country and discovered a doubling of birth defects coincided with the country’s maximum exposure to the 245T dioxin.

Former midwife Hyacinth Henderson, aged 87, says she saw many birth defects when she worked at New Plymouth's Westown Maternity Hospital. 
Between 1965 and 1971 {6 years} she recorded:
167 birth defects out of 5,392 babies born there. {images warning graphic
She told the Herald that they had abnormalities she had never seen before and she had been in obstetrics for 40 years.  
"Some of them were horrific ...
There were two anecephalics, which means there is no brain or the brain is sheared off above the eyebrows. There were a large number of bone deformities such as clubbed feet and things like that."
Thanks partly to citizen pressure, a blood study of 24 New Plymouth/Paritutu volunteers was begun by the Ministry of Health in March of 2004. 
The results, released on Sept. 9th of 2004, 
confirmed that Dow is one of the largest historical polluters in New Zealand. 
According to the study:
The dioxin levels detected in Paritutu residents are up to five-fold New Zealand's nation-wide levels, which are themselves second only to South Vietnam.
In what has been described by residents as the "second Vietnam," 
Dow now faces massive future liabilities. "The time has come for the company to deal with the demons of its past" the New Zealand Herald writes in an editorial on the issue, labeling Dow's ethical standards as "lamentable". 
Andrew Gibbs of the Paritutu Dioxin Investigation Network put things a different way: {now CEPRA Chemically Exposed Paritutu Residents Association}
"What we are dealing with is New Zealand's Chernobyl."

original source 

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