Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sprayer’s remains can’t be tested for Agent Orange component in WA
The remains of a West Australian government-employed weed sprayer who died more than 30 years ago after working with one of the key ingredients in Agent Orange can’t be tested in the state. Aboriginal man Cyril Hunter died of cancer in 1983 after working in the Kimberley with the herbicide 2,4,5-T.
The now-banned defoliant contains the highly persistent and cancer-causing dioxin TCDD, and was used in WA between 1970 and 1985.
Tissue samples were taken as part of the state coroner’s investigation into Mr Hunter’s death.
But Health Minister Kim Hames told parliament this week that no appropriate facility had been identified to carry out the tests on the remains, which are being held at PathWest’s long-term storage facility in Welshpool.
A Department of Health spokesman said there was no facility in WA that could test for dioxins and a sophisticated test was required to find it in extremely low levels.
The coroner’s findings into Mr Hunter’s death have not been released because a public inquest was not held.
Agent Orange was never used in the Kimberley and contains significantly higher levels of dioxins that were contained in any 2,4,5-T legitimately used in Australia.

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