|LEAD Action News vol 11 Number
3, June 2011, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times (ISSN 1440-4966) & Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor: Anne Roberts
A critique of some of those involved in the dispute about Rosebery
By Kay Seltitzas and Isla MacGregor, Toxic Heavy Metals Taskforce Tasmania (THMTT
Chrissie Pickin – The 'cheap' investigation or 'don't look and you won't find'
It has been useful for the DHHS to admit that “The Department says neither it nor Professors Daly and Braitberg had access to the full medical records of each of the residents, nor were they able to directly examine the patients”. This is important, in view of examples of incorrect attribution of data to patients and conclusions drawn on medications assumed to be taken by patients and numerous other examples, outlined in detail in our full Critique at: http://www.lead.org.au/mr/20100415Rosebery_Toxic_Heavy_Metals_Taskforce.html
Professors Braitberg and Daly failed to acknowledge that all these patients had been attempting to find the cause of their illnesses for years prior to the DHHS/EPA investigation instigated after the poisoning of the cat Kuba.
The fact that no patient’s GP chose to discuss with the Professors any matters relating to their views about their findings is of particular interest. The THMTT's view about GPs declining to discuss these issues with the Professors is because the GPs would not agree with the findings. Having observed the consequences for Dr Andreas Ernst as a result of his diagnosis, patients’ GPs would not want to leave themselves open to similar treatment by the DHHS.
Residents involved in the health investigation by the DHHS at no time “demanded compensation” from the mine. They did ask for relocation and even Mayor Darryl Gerrity suggested in the early stages of the investigation that they be temporarily relocated until such time as the investigations had been finalised.
Chrissie Pickin continues to assert that there are no exposure pathways for heavy metals for residents living in the middle of a mining operation, which - over the decades of operation- has contributed to severe acid mine drainage (especially arsenic and cadmium) affecting private residential properties. Inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact are the known pathways for heavy metal poisoning in mining towns throughout the world. HELLO!!!
There is considerable scientific evidence that shows that long term low level exposure to low levels of toxic chemicals or metals can result in build up in tissues and bones . Chrissie Pickin has not provided any evidence from testing of tissues, nerves, nails or bone from residents with raised heavy metals levels in blood or urine. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence .
Chrissie Pickin states “The understanding of the DHHS, supported by toxicologists who were consulted for advice, is that synergistic interactions and any resultant adverse health effects are associated only with high levels of exposure – at or above individual toxicity threshold level for the metals concerned,” despite considerable available scientific evidence to the contrary. Although this evidence has been provided to Chrissie Pickin repeatedly, no response has been received by THMTT to this research. A recent article by Linda Birnbaum, Director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIES) and the National Toxicology Program published in Environmental Health Perspectives states:
“There are several recent examples of how research supported by the NIEHS is leading to a paradigm shift in understanding how environmental toxicants – even at very low-level exposures – can have significant consequences including dysfunction and disease”. [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CYP/is_11_117/ai_n42284545/ ]
Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) (Land and Water website) states:
'Research on the outcomes of contaminants has tended to focus on single chemicals tested under highly controlled conditions. In reality, ecosystems are complex environmental matrices (e.g., water, sediments, soil and air) and mixtures are the norm. The effect of a contaminant when assessed in isolation may be very different to the effect of a mixture. Chemical interactions (due to mixtures) may result in dramatically different fate, effects and risk profiles.
CSIRO are investigating chemical interactions between contaminants as mixtures (and the implications for their environmental outcomes) – in order to develop theories for sub-lethal effects and models incorporating multi-contaminants, multi-stressor and multi-compartmental systems.' See: http://lwa.gov.au/programs/national-river-contaminants-program
Of concern is Chrissie Pickin's statement that, based on bio-monitoring results, there is no evidence of synergistic effects. This claim is made in the absence of any tests that could be used to provide data for low level exposure over time i.e., nails, nerves, tissue or bone.
The spurious reasons that were turned out by DHHS officials to justify their failing to undertake a proper population-based health survey in Rosebery are truly amazing:
This list gives a clear picture that the Tasmanian Public and Environmental Health Service (PEHS) investigation in Rosebery was designed to find sources of contamination on peoples’ property other than the mine.
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Updated 25 January 2012