RADIO NEW ZEALAND, NOVEMBER 3, 2006
The Office of the Ombudsmen has ordered the Ministry of Health to release previously confidential data from dioxin blood tests on New Plymouth residents.
Campaigners for people who lived near the Ivon Watkins Dow chemical factory while it made the herbicide 245T have been asking for individual blood-test data for more than a year. The ministry has refused.
Director of Public Health Mark Jacobs says it must now reveal the dioxin levels found in each of the 52 people tested.
However, a forensic accountant who claims the ministry’s blood study is flawed says the fresh data is not sufficient to prove the extent of the dioxin problem.
Tests have found people who lived near the factory have up to seven times more dioxin in their blood that other New Zealanders. The ministry admits dioxin causes four rare cancers.