16 Mar 2010

Mapua clean-up unlikely to pose health risk - report

6:06 am on 16 March 2010

The Ministry of Health says long-term health effects for local residents are unlikely as a result of the Mapua clean-up process.

The ministry on Monday released a report on the health risks from the clean-up at the former Fruitgrowers Chemical Company site at Mapua, near Nelson.

The report says people living close to the site may have suffered some short term problems from dust and vibration.

The ministry says expert advice is that local residents would not have been exposed to high levels of emitted dioxins or other chemicals for long enough for it to cause any chronic health effects.

Public Health deputy director Fran McGrath says any remaining chemical contamination would have low to negligible health impacts.

She says Mapua residents will be consulted on the findings during the next few weeks.

A woman who worked close to the clean-up plant disagrees, saying her continuing health problems are a result of exposure to a cocktail of chemicals used to treat the contaminated soil.

Dr McGrath says residents will be consulted during the next four to six weeks to address any remaining concerns.

A further report on health impacts for workers on the site is being completed by the Department of Labour and is expected to be released in mid-April.