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Australian Greens present pesticides petition to Senate

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 3 Dec 2013

The Australian Greens today tabled a petition in Parliament on behalf of Pesticides Action Group WA calling for further investigation into the use of pesticides including the illnesses and environmental harm that these products cause.

"At present there is no nationally coordinated bio-monitoring programme or public health surveillance of the Australian population by relevant Australian government authorities," said Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Agriculture.

"The community have an expectation that public health is adequately protected from pesticide exposure. However, ABC's Four Corners recent exposé - A Chemical Time Bomb - showed that the Australian Government have not implemented any bio monitoring programmes and does not have the necessary data to be able to determine either the Australian public's exposure to pesticides or the impact this may be having on human health. A lack of evidence is not evidence of no harm.

"Little if any auditing and compliance monitoring for pesticide applications are occurring at the state level while local governments are increasingly becoming the risk managers for the control and use of classified hazardous materials and scheduled poisons.

"The petition highlights problems with product labelling regimes, which do not provide adequate information about health and safety for use in the urban environment.

"A recent public forum at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital heard concerns from WA citizens about unnecessary exposure to pesticides, both in our homes and public places.

"There are clear environmental and health concerns about inadequate regulations and ongoing noncompliance, and this needs to be investigated," Senator Siewert concluded.

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