New Zealand Safe Food Campaign appeals herbicide 2,4-D ban
Nov. 9, 2010
The hormonal herbicide, that has recently caused possibly millions of dollars damage to three vineyards in Hawkes Bay, is notorious for its damaging drift and is a special hazard to sensitive plants such as grapes and tomatoes.
The Safe Food Campaign along with environmental groups such as Soil and Health and Pesticide Action Network have been campaigning for years to rid New Zealand of this pesticide. Ever since 2,4-D and 245T were combined to form the notorious Agent Orange in the Vietnam war, its use has been dogged with controversy.
"There have been a significant number of spray drift cases with 2,4-D in New Zealand resulting in not only damage to the environment but also affecting peoples health," commented Alison White of the Safe Food Campaign. "This spray has a damaging effect on peoples hormones and reduces the effectiveness of the immune system. We suspect that the herbicide is contaminated with dioxin, the most potent toxin known to man. No test results have been produced to show that dioxin contamination of 24D is not happening in New Zealand, whereas results commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency in the US show contamination."
"Its environmental impact is no less serious," argued Ms White. "Monitoring in the US has showed that 2,4-D is frequently found in rivers and streams and is also often measured in air samples. The damage coming from an unknown source in Hawkes Bay may result not just from careless spraying, but from the nature of the chemical and its application. Spraydrift can also result from vaporisation, a process where the chemical is carried in the air and, under certain atmospheric conditions, deposits itself on plants, typically many kilometres from the source of spraying."
"We need to get rid of this pesticide in New Zealand," said Ms White. "At the very least local authorities should prohibit aerial and boom applications of 2,4-D. We would also urge Hawkes Bay Regional Council to reintroduce a ban on using the herbicide within an 8 km distance from sensitive crops such as grapes and tomatoes, and also from sensitive areas such as schools, kndergartens and organic properties. We would be delighted if the Environmental Risk Management Agency decided to urgently reassess this particular pesticide," she concluded.
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