Catchment Stability
Sediment & Nutrient Loss
Plantation Effect
Science of Forestry
Stability / Instability
Social Impact
M.I.S. Assault
Other Links
Community Links
Chemical Contamination
of Water Catchments
Chemical Dump Tasmania
The continued use of chemicals for the suppression of “woody weeds” (i.e. native forest regrowth), in plantation establishment together with phosphate, nitrogenous fertilisers and 1080 baits, claimed to be essential for economic timber production, pose a real threat to the potability of water, human and animal health.
Water pollution in Tasmania @ SourceWatch
Pollution Information Tasmania @ SourceWatch
Chemicals found in Tasmanian rivers
The Dirty Dozen include PCBs, Phenyls, old Pesticides and Dioxins, together with "World’s Best Practice" in Tasmania where it's OK to produce Dioxins at the Gunns Pulp Mill
Global Climate Change And Toxic Chemicals: A Potentially Lethal Combination
Alarm at Weed-kill Chemical in Water - The Australian | 15 May 2008
Tasmanian River Catchment Water Quality Initiative Reports > Nature and Extent of Pesticide Usage - LIMITED by way of the small sample pool of growers surveyed (25%), and the limited responses provided. CHILLING reading regarding what chemicals are being used.
Health fears as backyards bubble with heavy metals
Organic Farmer Wins $1,000,000 Pesticide Drift Suit - Action by an Organic Farmer winning a $1 million pesticide drift lawsuit in the USA could set a precedent, and should send a clear warning of the potential consequences to industries which contaminate waterways in Tasmania.
Chemical Spraying Australia Problems with chemical spraying in Australia & Government inaction
AND the Australian Government says - "....Australia is currently facing critical water supply and water quality problems. These problems are expected to become worse over the coming decades due to drought, pollution, over-extraction and climate change. Managing water quality requires a catchment-based approach as land uses have a major effect on the quality of water resources....."

Testing by Tasmania's Environment Protection Authority has confirmed elevated heavy metal levels [arsenic and lead] in water from the backyards of West Coast's Rosebery residents who have fallen ill.

With the latest State Governments water tests revealing chemical contamination of many water bodies in the state, it is time that the Government now realises that their legislation is facilitating pollution and failing communities.
Atrazine and Simazine
Dr. Alison Bleaney OBE
Atrazine and simazine work by disrupting our hormone (endocrine) and enzyme systems and allowing other chemicals to act and pre-set our bodies for some illnesses and cancers. The type and severity of the effects depends on the time that they affect us but especially when in utero or as a child. Hormone disruptors work at extremely low concentrations i.e. 10-6 up to 10-10 (10-6 is the same as 1 part per billion (1ppb)). They also upset our immune system and are very strong skin sensitisers i.e. are allergenic, and alter the functioning of our genes i.e. cause epigenetic changes. Atrazine and simazine are among the strongest of the environmental oestrogens (EO), which are also strong allergy modifiers, and the effects of EO's are additive. Atrazine and simazine have been shown to cause chemical castration of male frogs and other animals at 0.1 ppb, by induction of an enzyme (aromatase) which changes testosterone into oestrogen. The hormones in frogs are identical to those in humans (see below - What is Atrazine?). The effects are apparent in the next 2 generations, even when only the pregnant mother was exposed to these chemicals. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines allows atrazine to be present up to 40ppb in our drinking water i.e. 400 times the concentration required to castrate these animals. The total biological effects of these and other toxic herbicides on all the animals in our ecosystems including humans have not been fully investigated let alone quantified.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals in our drinking water - Dr Alison Bleaney
Since 2005, atrazine has been found in the Duck River, the Jordan River, the Rubicon River, the Liffey River, and the Derwent River. Simazine has been found in the Brid River, the Montague River, the Prosser River, the Rubicon River, the South Esk River and Trevallyn Dam, the Macquarie River (contaminated with simazine from July 2007 until January 2008, with no data available since that month), Brumbys Creek, and Western Creek.  Launceston’s water supply reported simazine in 2003 and 2004 at above guideline values and atrazine at above guideline value in 2001.
The above link goes to a Department of Primary Industries & Water (DPIW Tasmania) testing program for 19 pesticides. Only parent chemicals are tested for (no degradation products, or excipients i.e. surfactants, wetting or others) in water from 54 rivers in Tasmania taken at the very bottom of the catchments (a maximum dilution effect). Remember, this testing only started in 2005 and that up until then there had been almost no monitoring of rivers for pesticides. The effects of chemical mixtures - lipid and water soluble are unexpected and unpredictable and are not tested for by our Federal or State regulators before they are allowed to be used. The effects of pesticides / chemicals are most pronounced on the foetus followed by the child, the immunocomprimised and the elderly. The same holds true for animals.

The following are extracts from the Institute of Foresters of Australia (IFA) (www.forestry.org.au), Forestry Policy Statement No. 2.5 titled, Use of Chemicals in Plantation Forestry:
"....strict environmental standards (including the use of buffer zones) can be applied to ensure chemicals are accurately applied and remain within recommended application zones".
“Chemical application techniques in forestry are constantly being refined. Sophisticated application technology (including micronair nozzles) is used to control herbicide droplet size and minimize drift”.
Helicopter Spraying Chemicals Tasmania
Photo courtesy John Izzard
However, the above IFA Policy statements fly in the face of reality as chemical contamination from run-off or spray drift continues as a regular occurrence.
SEE : Dr. Alison Bleaney audit where both DPIW and APVMA state that drift will occur on non-target areas (4mb PDF)
SEE : Residents’ water pleas ignored
SEE : Rural and Remote Health - www.rrh.org.au
Pesticide Abuse in Tasmania by Brenda Rosser
Westerns rivulet has been threatened by a cocktail of chemicals, Lontrel, Verdict and Hasten. A brief web search of Verdict reveals it is toxic to fish, platypus and small birds. It is of the chemical family Aryloxy-Phenoxys, which in turn are a sub family of aromatic carboxylic acids which include chemicals such as 24D.
While there are guidelines for individual chemical usage, there are no guidelines regarding the synergistic effects of mixing a number of chemicals or surfactants, which is a common practice.
Atrazine and Symazine, just two of the triazinine group of chemicals, are used widely throughout Australia, they have been banned in a number of European countries as they are known to be oestrogenic and can disrupt the normal development of reproductive organs, they are also classified as possible carcinogens.
While 1080, a colorless, odourless, highly toxic chemical has been banned in the U.S.A. since 1974, it is still widely used throughout Australia.
1080 Tasmania
Research has shown a marked decrease in sperm counts amongst forestry and farm workers who are continually handling chemicals.
Minute amounts of chemicals from Synthetic Oestrogens in the contraceptive pill to pesticides and detergents, which are known to be endocrine disrupting chemicals, have affected the hormone system of male fish and changed their sex.
There is significant scientific opinion that the use of broad spectrum chemicals together with widespread land clearing in forestry and farming are contributing largely to unbalanced ecologies and the loss of their bio-diversity.

Soil organisms and fungi help act as an immune system for plants against diseases and insects, when chemicals and fertilisers are used in the simplified systems of mono-cultures, then even more chemicals are needed  in an increasing vicious cycle. [Wolfe 2001]
Something in the Water

Part 1

Part 2

Australian Story
ABC Television

 These factors may be acting as the primary cause of the Devil Facial Tumor Disease and Platypus Ulcer Disease.
Tasmanian Platypus
The insidious invasion of Bioterror
Further Ref:
Status of Tasmanian Mammals
Status of Tasmanian Mammals
- David Obendorf
Whelan JJ, Willis K. Problems with provision: barriers to drinking water quality and public health in rural Tasmania, Australia.
Rural and Remote Health 7 (online), 2007: 627.
Available from : RURAL and REMOTE HEALTH - www.rrh.org.au

Davies, P.E., L.S.J. Cook and J.L. Barton 1994.
Aust. J.Mar. Freshwater Res., 1994, 45, 209-26

Environment and Heritage Report 2005.

Australian Toxic Networks Submission to:-
The Australian Pesticides and Vetinary Medicines Authority.