Toxic dump health study demands.


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13-05-2010 08:22 AM


ABC Canberra 666

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ABC Canberra 666


13-05-2010 08:22 AM



13-05-2010 09:02 AM

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2010-05-13 08:22:38

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Toxic dump health study demands. -

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All of Victoria's hazardous wastes are now being put into a landfill in Dandenong in Melbourne's
south-east, far too close to houses according to those who live nearby. Concerned about anecdotes
of serious birth defects and cancer in people who live nearby, residents say it's time for a proper
health study to be carried out.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: As you probably heard on the program yesterday, a hazardous waste landfill near
Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport closed down two years ago and residents are worried the old site is
a health hazard.

Now there is one main place for Victoria's hazardous waste - a dump in Dandenong South in
Melbourne's south-east.

The Environment Protection Authority says it operates within strict guidelines, but those who live
nearby say it's far too close to houses and is causing serious health problems, including birth
defects and lung cancer.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: Since it was opened in the early 1990s residents living alongside the Lyndhurst
Hazardous Waste Landfill have been assured it's one of the safest and most highly engineered
landfills in Victoria.

But residents say they've begun to notice health problems appearing in people who live near the
landfill and a so called Industry 2 Zone where the most hazardous waste is processed to be stored
in the landfill.

They want a proper, focussed health study to be conducted on the community.

Thelma Wakelam is the spokeswoman for RATWISE, Residents Against Toxic Waste in the South East. She
says to date no studies have ever been conducted.

THELMA WAKELAM: No, no. That's correct. None at all and it appears now that the Government is
planning on doing a health study around the area but we're concerned that the health study may not
take in all the areas of concern in the south-east here.

ALISON CALDWELL: In the meantime, residents have collected anecdotal evidence of serious health
issues in the community.

THELMA WAKELAM: Those abnormalities are coming out of the closer area Dandenong South to the
Industry Zone. But without health testing done and proper monitoring from the EPA to see whether
different facilities are putting out pollutions which could be dangerous to the health of people,
we're in the dark. We don't know.

There's a, well over 20 per cent higher rate of lung cancers in the Dandenong area. Well we know of
one, a young mother who has come forward. She believes that the problems that have occurred with
her baby have been associated with some type of chemical exposure and certainly around the world,
the type of abnormalities that her little baby has been born with have been associated with
chemical exposure of some kind.

ALISON CALDWELL: What sort of abnormalities?

THELMA WAKELAM: He was born without eyes and he has other internal problems. Smaller nasal
passages, I believe. Other problems, once again, which are generally been more associated with some
form of exposure during the first trimester.

ALISON CALDWELL: Concerned residents in Dandenong fear the Lyndhurst landfill will be the dumping
ground for an extra 30,000 tonnes of toxic waste from the soon to be opened desalination plant.

The residents say the Government should consider above ground sealed containers. Thelma Wakelam
says beyond that residents will accept nothing more.

THELMA WAKELAM: Shut down to accepting hazardous waste. We say enough's enough in this area and our
Government should do the right thing by this area. We've had it for many, many years now. We never
wanted it. It was imposed upon us. We believe that it's time that our Government started looking at

ALISON CALDWELL: AM contacted the Health Minister Daniel Andrews and the Department of Human
Services for a comment, but no one was available.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Alison Caldwell.

The operator of the Dandenong South landfill, SITA, says the site is not a risk and it welcomes a
Health Department study which it was briefed on last night.

A spokesman says the company wants the study to go beyond the landfill and include incinerators and
other sources of potential air pollution in the area.