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MCS: our first rally for 2007

Wednesday 7 February 2007

ChemicalsPeter Evans, convenor of the SA Task Force on MCS, sends news of our first public action for people with MCS for the year. (It’s the first public action, but a lot of other work is going on behind the scenes.)

Now read on…

MCS Public Health Rally Protesting Against Herbicide Use by Local Councils Thursday 1st March 2007

The South Australian City of Port Adelaide Enfield (PAEC) is at it again.

Just like most local Councils across Australia, PAEC has recently failed to notify a resident with multiple chemical sensitivity of the intention to spray herbicide in her street, despite her being on the Council's prior notification No-Spray Register for nearly a year. Consequently she was made sick by herbicide and was forced to evacuate her home for several days.

The resident concerned is the Protest Coordinator with the South Australian Task Force on MCS, and PAEC is about to find out what happens when they abuse an assertive MCS activist - they get a bunch of very concerned people on their doorstep.

Following this recent herbicide incident, a public health rally recognising multiple chemical sensitivity, and protesting against Councils' widespread use of herbicide in residential areas, will be held on 1st March, 12 pm - 1 pm, outside the City of Port Adelaide Enfield Civic Centre, 163 St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide.

The event is being promoted as fragrance free - no perfumes or aftershave please. See the associated rally flier and Roundup public health alert brochure for more information.

In 2005 the Parliamentary Inquiry into MCS found evidence that Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides used extensively by local Councils were associated with causing MCS and triggering symptoms of MCS. The Inquiry described these chemicals as “particularly pernicious” for MCS sufferers and recommended that the Department of Health and Ageing assist Councils in developing No-Spray Registers to identify MCS sufferers in the community. The Inquiry also called for the federal government to investigate safer methods of weed control than the chemicals currently used, and for adequate safety warnings on products associated with MCS, such as herbicides.

Nearly two years later, we are still waiting for action on these recommendations. Meanwhile, people with MCS continue to be damaged, discriminated against, and denied access to public spaces and services in the community by their local Councils' use of herbicide.

The March rally will also target local, state, and federal government agencies - the Local Government Association of SA, the State Department of Health and Ageing, the Commonwealth Office of Chemical Safety, and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for their role in this ongoing public health negligence.

Anyone concerned about this growing public health problem can write to their local, state and federal political representatives. The following are some lobbying contacts:

Cr John Rich,
President, Local Government Association of South Australia

The Hon John Hill,
State Minister for Health

The Hon Jennifer Rankine
State Minster for State/Local Government Relation,
State Minister for Consumer Affairs

The Hon Jay Weatherill
State Minister for Disabilities

The Hon Tony Abbott
Federal Minister for Health and Ageing

The Hon Sussan Ley
Federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minster for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry

The Hon Peter McGauran
Federal Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry

An excellent review of reforms that are occurring internationally to reduce the residential use of pesticides and herbicides can be found here:


The Impact of By-Laws and Public Education Programs on Reducing the Cosmetic / Non-Essential, Residential Use of Pesticides: A Best Practices Review (PDF, 1.47MB)

More comprehensive information on the emerging public health problems associated with pesticides, such as cancer, birth defects, fertility problems, and neurological diseases including symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, can be found here:

Ontario College of Family Physicians – Press Release: Pesticides

Details of the event can be found here.


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