The Ministry of Health says that there is no strong evidence that PCP (dioxin) – which was used for many years to stain timber – has any negative genetic effects, despite claims by sawmill workers that family members suffered a high rate of birth defects.
However, should scientists be able to develop a sufficiently robust methodology to test for such genetic effects, the Ministry says it would open to having a proposal submitted to it for funding.
An excerpt: (read in full here)
“[Health Ministry environmental health protection manager Sally Gilbert] said yesterday blood tests for dioxin only showed a person had been exposed, and there was “no strong evidence” to suggest that PCP caused genetic damage.
“A consultant who has worked closely with the ministry and a timber workers’ lobby, Matt Allen of Allen and Clarke, said that issues such as whether geneticists will work with epidemiologists and toxicologists on a study of effect on workers’ children and grandchildren willhave to be decided by scientists who designed the study – if there was one.”