17 May 2013

Road dust confirmed as potenital health hazard

8:13 pm on 17 May 2013

Scientific monitoring of some of Northland's worst roads has confirmed that dust clouds from logging trucks are a potential health hazard.

Northland Health commissioned the testing in April this year after complaints about dust clouds caused by logging trucks.

The results show concentrations of the smallest particles, PM 10s, which lodge deep in the lungs, at well over the National Environmental Standard.

On two roads, PM10 levels exceeded the safety standard for seven consecutive days.

Northland medical officer of health Loek Henneveld said one solution to the rural dust problem might be to seal small stretches of roads in front of houses.

Dr Henneveld said a technical working group would now look at all the options.

Families living close to logging roads say they should be sealed.

However, councils say that is unrealistic as they don't have the money. They are proposing cheaper options including applying dust sealant oil products to roads.

Some Far North roads are in such bad shape they would need extensive and expensive preparation before the product could be applied.

Far North Mayor Wayne Brown said that is the fault of the Government for cutting road funding in rural areas.