Independent Regulation of the New Zealand Dairy and Fertilizer Industries

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My name's Amanda.

I lived opposite a fertilizer depot during my child's first 2 years of life; the photo shown was a typical day in our back yard from September until May every year. I was breast-feeding my Son at the time and also inhaling large amounts of fertilizer. A thick layer or the stuff was EVERYWHERE and the result of a SELF-REGULATED INDUSTRY.

Our Family, Neighbours and Community have suffered much illness that seems to align with fertilizer, super phosphate, nitrate and cadmium poisoning. I have spoken with many medical professionals, all of whom had not considered fertilizer as a potential threat to public health yet CADMIUM IS A KNOWN CARCINOGEN. My Son has Cadmium in his blood. ALL New Zealand Children tested in the "cadmium total weekly intake" studies exceeded the World Health Organization standards for cadmium. We are a country consumed by non-organic dairy farming practices and have been adding 30-40 TONNES of CADMIUM PER YEAR to our soils! We have the HIGHEST USE OF PHOSPHATES per capita IN THE WORLD and one of the HIGHEST RATES OF CANCER in the world as well as other social and health issues like; suicide, domestic violence, alcoholism, mood and behavioural difficulties and full term pregnancy losses yet most of the local district and regional council are satisfied that current practices are safe. The DHB is satisfied with the classification of fertilizer as of "low toxicity" yet health and safety classify it as a "hazardous substance". The US medical dictionary says that fertilizer dust inhalation can result in death. Where is this confusion coming from?

In 2011, a National Cadmium Soil Database and Working Group were setup to attain and assess the scientific data of over 3700 pasture samples, 2700 were collected by the fertilizer industry and what happened? They seem to have put strategies in place to protect themselves but the citizens and the environments most at risk have neither received help nor notification. If we had been notified immediately we could be well on our way to solving the issue. These delays are costing lives. The NATIONAL SOIL AND CADMIUM DATABASE IS MANAGED BY THE FERTILIZER ASSOCIATION who made up by the Ravensdown and Balance farmer co-operatives. My concern is the apparent conflict of interest and the potential for the self-regulated dairy and fertilizer industries in NZ to heavily influence public and professional opinions by misrepresenting, or simply not presenting, scientific findings in order to cover their failings instead of applying this research to ensure the health of New Zealanders AND THE WORLD as 95% of our dairy products are exported.

Many fertilizer depots, and there are hundreds of them, are located in small rural towns like our own and have residents living around them, many of whom have vegetable gardens. I find this concerning as CADMIUM ACCUMULATES IN SOIL and is proven to be transferred to fruit and vegetables grown in these soils, so the areas around the fertilizer depots, some of which have been stocking cadmium products for over 50 years, have high chances of exceeding the safety threshold for cadmium soil deposits. I would like these zone as well as any other "high risk" zones to also be included in the database.

The cost of nitrogen is $6600 /tonne, the approx. cost to clean it out of the environment is $246,000 /tonne.The cost of Phosphorus is $300 per tonne, the cost to remove from the environment is $150,000 /tonne and the cost of cadmium is unknown. The few people profiting off these high fertilizer use rates need to be held accountable to pay for the clean up so the New Zealand Tax Payer doesn't foot the bill.

This is not to mention the high personal costs. Our neighbours sold their home to pay for cancer treatment. Our next neighbours lost their baby at full term. The previous family in our home at the time lost their 2 year old daughter to cancer. Many of the depot yard employees have various forms of cancer and disease. The local creek is at unsafe levels of Nitrates and Ammonium and there are no safety warnings in place. It is extremely dangerous for vulnerable people such as pregnant woman or babies to be exposed to these waters.

I genuinely believe that the approximate 50,000 farmers that belong to these co-operatives are not aware of this. Many of them and their families have been significantly affected by fertilizer exposure and may not realize it so we must stand together to address this.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry is a TICKING TIME BOMB. I find it an unacceptable potential that WE HAVE BEEN POISONED, we are sick and dying and the people who can make a difference HAVE FAILED TO TAKE ALL PRACTICABLE STEPS NECESSARY to address these issues. I have tried to address these matters at local district and regional levels and have had no success so I AM SEEKING YOUR SUPPORT to ENCOURAGE AN INDEPENDENT REVIEWAL BOARD AND WORKING GROUP to assess the raw data of the national soil cadmium database as I have little faith in the current one and I AM VERY CONCERNED ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY.

WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE, there are cost effective solutions but WE MUST ACT NOW!

PLEASE SUPPORT US in the Independent Regulation of New Zealand Dairy and Fertilizer Industries because THE SOONER THESE MATTERS ARE ADDRESSED THE LESS HARM WILL BE EXPERIENCED; by our environment and our people.

Thank you.