Government claims no health risk in remote communities’ water, despite evidence

Thursday, 9 November 2017

WA Greens communities’ spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC said he was astounded at the government’s ignorance to the results of a study indicating water contaminated with Uranyl Nitrate across 12 goldfields communities was significantly affecting renal health, including in young children.

The Hon Alannah Clohesy MLC, on behalf of the Minister for Health Roger Cook, stated “there is no health issue posed by uranyl nitrate to community members” when asked last night in Parliament about the results of Dr Jeffries-Stokes study.

“The Minister has met with Christine and seen the evidence from her study; he is wilfully ignoring a renal health epidemic that is putting at risk the lives of many people in the Goldfields region,” Mr Chapple said.

“There are cases of young, otherwise healthy children showing early signs of developing type 2 diabetes and people with no history of health problems who have suddenly developed renal issues after moving to some of these remote areas.

“I say to the Minister: who cares what the guidelines are telling you, look at the evidence that is right in front of you and listen to the members of the community who are scared!

“It is clear that these guidelines need to be reassessed, particularly in regional areas where you have these cocktails of trace elements present and forming compounds in drinking water.”

Mr Chapple said evidence from a 2015 Auditor General’s report suggested the problem could be much more widespread, indicating a potential health crisis in the state’s remote communities.

“Water quality cannot be ignored any longer by the state government otherwise we might end up with a problem of epidemic proportions.

“Access to potable water is a basic human right and the installation of filtration systems to tackle these problems is not difficult; it is something the government should be doing as a matter of priority.”

The Minister’s full answer in Parliament last night is attached.

Media contact:

Tim Oliver – 08 9486 9965 // 0431 9696 25

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