82 Bonython AvenueNovar Gardens SA 5040
29th January 2007The Hon. Tony Abbott MPMinister for Health and AgeingParliament HouseCanberra ACT 2600Dear Mr. Abbott:
Chemicals and Human Fertility
Although Dr. Margaret Hartley responded, on your behalf, to my email of 8
November, 2006, I appreciatedreceiving her letter dated 8
December. My purpose in again addressing yourself is that the nature of thereply is not satisfactory as it fails to take into account a number of factors which are within the competencyof good governance to deal with. As Minister for Health it is your responsibility to ensure that the health of the Australian people takes precedence over most other matters since without a healthy population wecannot give of our best. I therefore submit the following for your consideration and comment.
by Rachel Carson was first published in 1962 and caused great indignation from the chemicalindustry such as “If man were to faithfully follow the teachings of Miss Carson”, complained an executiveof American Cyanamid, “we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases and vermin wouldonce again inherit the earth.” Monsanto published and distributed 5,000 copies of a brochure parodying
entitled “The Desolate Year” And 45 years later not much has changed, the chemical industryis still spewing out millions of tonnes of old and new chemicals and governments still refuse to accept thatstrong regulations are needed and that chemical companies must prove safety before marketing present, andnew, chemicals. Referring to the executive quoted above, we still have the diseases, both more prevalentlyand in new forms.From my knowledge of the situation, the only attempt at remedying the situation is the EU’s REACH whichhas already been watered down because of protestations of the chemical industry.The Coalition Government is certainly not ahead of world practice based on its present policies. Oneexample is the Maximum Residue Limits set by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary MedicinesAuthority (APVMA) for food and animal feedstuffs. As at December, 2006, there were 283 chemicals listedfor use on foods – those used for animals and cotton have been excluded from that figure. Of the 283 thereare 116 (41%) listed on the Pesticide Action Network site classified as Pan Bad Actor. That signifies one or more of the following for each one: -Known or probable carcinogen,Reproductive or developmental toxicant, Neurotoxic cholinesterase inhibitor,Known groundwater contaminant,Pesticide with high toxicity.Two of them belong to the dirty dozen which are slated for removal on a world-wide basis. Aldicarb is oneand the other, Parathion Methyl is noted by the APVMA as being phased out or experiencing further experimental work.What I suggest is of concern in the letter from Dr. Margaret Hartley are the reassuring words that if chemicals inimical to health have not been taken off the market (is there a list?) work is progressing toachieve that. The bureaucracy and relevant government ministers are surely not that lacking in knowledgethat people and the environment are allowed to be contaminated by harmful chemicals, on a regular basis. Itmust be a lack of will and lack of concern about those people and the environment that allows this situation