Deformities linked with Malay-serving veterans
Fri, 27 Jul 2012 6:22p.m.
By Annabelle Tukia
Children of Kiwi soldiers who used an insecticide while serving in Malaya are more likely to suffer genital deformities and breast cancer, according to a new study.
Toxicologist Professor Ian Shaw has spent the last three years looking at the correlation between the chemical and certain medical conditions.
Jack Stanaway served with the New Zealand army in the jungle in Malaya for two years in the late 1950s and he remembers smothering his uniform in a chemical, called DPB, to protect from disease-carrying ticks.
He has now learned what he suspected for years: there's a link between that chemical and his children's birth defects.
“I’m disappointed from the aspect that through me, my children have been affected,” says Mr Stanaway.
“When men were exposed to it it caused some change, we think, in their sperm that can be passed on to their children and that change leads to a change in the development of the male genitalia,” says Prof Shaw.
Prof Shaw says the sample size was small - fewer than 100 - but he found the incidence of genital deformities and breast cancer was way above the national average.
And now the Veterans’ Association is looking for compensation.
“We will approach Veterans' Affairs with a submission for recognition and support for veterans and their descendants,” says Ray King Turner.
“A spokeswoman for Veterans' Affairs says they are very interested to see Prof Shaw's report and the next step would be to have it reviewed by their international colleagues.
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22/10/2012 11:49:04 p.m.
I am very interested in this information. My Father served his National Service in Malaya, in the early fifties. He died in 2008 from Burkits Lymphoma. Recently another friend of ours who served at the same time, same place also died of the above. Coincidence? I am keen to learn of any others who have had similar.
28/07/2012 1:47:37 a.m.
Lisa Fowler wrote:
As a young breast cancer survivor whose father served in Malaya, and himself died of renal cancer at age 37, I will be following this story with much interest. Thank you for alerting me to it!
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