A trawl around the net yielded much information about Chlorpyrifos, the chemical responsible for the most recent bird kill in June 2012. A selection of these are below. The first is a general overview of the laws governing pesticde use from the Qld Environmental Defender’s Office; the second is the manufacturer’s warnings; and the third is factsheet from the US National Pesticide Information centre on Chlorpyrifos itself, how it works, and the dangers to human and environmental health if it is misused. The last link is a US Hazard review from 1988 on this organophosphate insecticide.
The farm in question insisted it does not use this chemical, but we can attest that the four hosueholds on the northern and north-western side of this farm would never use such a chemical on our own properties, because we have, variously, children, dogs, parrots, ducks and chickens free-ranging.
We cannot speak for the farm’s southern neighbour, beyond saying that this person has publicly stated that boom spraying when this was an open farm put them in hospital for several days at one point, (legally, I believe this may qualify as a form of assault), and that this person has told neighbours in the past that it was believed the farm’s activities caused a case of bladder cancer.
More recently, this neighbour has come out vehemently in support of the farms, and even more vehemently critical of his other neighbours, claiming that the greenhouses that were erected in the switch to Protected Horticulture present much less of a threat to health, and that therefore enough has been done. But chemically-laden runoff still affects neighbours’ properties whenever it rains heavily, and wildlife kills continue to occur.
Certainly, some improvement is better than none, but the information on soil-borne pesticides on this blog clearly show that just containing some spray drift is not enough to obviate the risk to the health of those living around the intensive farming operation. As we have said, again and again, BUFFER AREAS should be mandatory.