Poison spray fears

ENVIRONMENTAL group Friends of the Earth have raised alarming health concerns over widespread use of chemical insecticides in combating Victoria’s predicted locust plague, which they say carry links to cancer, leukaemia and other diseases.FoE land use researcher Anthony Amis said the organisation has particular concerns with widespread use of Organophosphorus (OP) insecticides such as Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon, Fenitrothion and Maldison, all of which appear on the Department of Primary Industries list of approved sprays.Mr Amis said an 18-month study of OP insecticides were linked to ADHD in children, rhinitis, higher cancer rates and leukaemia in children, endocrine disruption, multiple chemical sensitivity and Parkinsons disease. The Bendigo Advertiser can also reveal that the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States recently banned the use of all four OP insecticides highlighting “high neurotoxic levels” as their primary reason.“Organophosphorus insecticides work by attacking the insect’s nervous system. These substances can also be neurotoxic for humans and can impact on of the functioning of certain enzymes in the brain,” said Mr Amis. But DPI chemical standards field services program manager Alan Roberts said locust spraying chemicals were generally used by farmers every year and were already subject to a safe-use regime governed by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, who approved the use of the OP chemicals.