Legislative Assembly (Western Australia)
Tuesday, the 17th October, 1978
I also wish to refer to the health problems associated with 2,4-D. I am sure everyone is
familiar with the controversy which has raged far and wide as to whether the spray is safe or
dangerous. We have all heard of alleged problems concerning birth defects and so on. I will not enter that debate because I do not know enough about the subject and I do not know whether or not there is sufficient conclusive evidence on the subject. I am awaiting the results of inquiries such as the one being held in Victoria to see what information is brought forward.
However, there is sufficient suspicion for us to be concerned. None of us in this place would want to be associated with 2,4-D in any form if we knew it had deleterious effects on our health.
I want to make the point to the Minister for Health that most of the town of Geraldton has
been affected by the spray. Many rose gardens and backyard tomato bushes in the town have been affected. Some people have claimed that every rose and tomato garden is affected, but I do not believe that because I know of some which have not been affected.
There is substantial evidence to indicate that at least a considerable part of the town has been affected by 2,4-D of one strength or another….
Mr CARR: Government action is warranted on the subject. The Government should ban all
volatile esters and, in particular, it should specifically ban 2,4-D ester. I will not go further
and say it should ban 2,4-D amine because quite frankly I do not know enough about the extent of the damage it causes. It is clear that the 2,4-D ester goes everywhere and is most indiscriminate. There is a spray available which can be used with much greater safety. As I understand it, the amine spray drifts about the same distance water would drift, and once it settles it stays settled.
That would be a viable alternative to 2,4-D. I repeat that the Government should ban 2,4-D
ester throughout the State and in particular in regions anywhere at all close to tomato gardens or residential areas…