Veterans fight for compensation
Sat, 28 Jul 2012 10:28a.m.
Kiwi soldiers exposed to an insecticide in Malaysia that has inflicted health problems on their children will have a difficult time getting compensation, a class-action lawyer says.
Canterbury University researcher Professor Ian Shaw has found the soldiers' offspring were up to eight times more likely to get genital deformities and breast cancer. His research was published this month in the New Zealand Medical Journal.
About 3500 New Zealand soldiers were deployed during the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960, fighting communists. The soldiers based in the jungles of Malaysia brushed the insecticide dibutylphthalate (DBP) on the seams of their uniforms to kill ticks and lice to avoid bush typhus.
Prof Shaw said the soldiers would have been in constant contact with the chemical.
"While the numbers are small in terms of absolute numbers, the statistical difference between normal people and those exposed to DBP is very significant."
Lawyer Grant Cameron told Radio New Zealand there were several legal obstacles to veterans claiming compensation.
Because the insecticide was used so long ago it might be difficult to find reliable witnesses and evidence. The veterans would also have to prove conclusively the chemical was to blame.
Mr Cameron said a better option might be to seek a Government inquiry.
Prof Shaw sent questionnaires to about 250 veterans but the response rate was low because they were elderly or unwell and some had died.
He said the boys born with reproductive deformities underwent successful surgery as children.
"But obviously breast cancer is very different," he said.
"Nobody knows how many generations will be affected and I would hope to be able to look into that."
The veterans have talked publicly in the past about seeking compensation.
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1/08/2012 2:50:02 p.m.
So much for our government supposably protecting or interests, If we ever get invaded it will be seen as a liberation.
29/07/2012 8:04:06 p.m.
Elizabeth Braggins wrote:
no oe asked us- 3 kids of one dad in Malaya in 50s and 60s-we are fine so far
28/07/2012 11:49:47 a.m.
Agent Orange/Vietnam= birth defects in children of those exposed.Dibutylphalate/Malaya= birth defects in children of those exposed.Foray 48b/West Auckland= The government says it's harmless(except patents show it contained the genotoxin chloramphenicol that is suspected of causing birth defects(heritable genetic damage) in the children of those exposed).Anyone see a pattern? Anyone notice how governments deny that these herbicide/insectides are dangerous until eventually, when the damage is severe, science prooves otherwise.
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