Viking Express Transport has sub-contracted Footscray-based Container Fumigation Services (CFS) to treat logs destined for China with methyl bromide. The toxic gas has been banned in other countries and parts of Australia. New Zealand’s maritime union became part of a coalition against the use of methyl bromide after six port workers died from motor neurone disease.
Concerned resident and business owner Jarrod Crowley said he had strong reservations about the use of methyl bromide. “The research I’ve done [indicates] it’s a carcinogen,” he said. “It causes cancer, birth defects. I’m worried that they’re importing and exporting containers using methyl bromide without a permit.
“I class it as our backyard,” Mr Ross said. “It’s been our backyard for four years and the kids come over here and play. My daughter . . . thought it was mould, but it’s actually green stuff from over there. “
“If this is one of the Chinese government’s requirements to fumigate these logs with methyl bromide, they can ship these logs as they are to Chinese waters and fumigate them there. New Zealand also exports logs to China, but in their case they fumigate the logs in containers at sea. I believe we should insist on the same process.”
Cr Briffa is planning to write to Victoria’s chief health officer John Carnie, Health Minister Daniel Andrews, Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings and Altona MP Jill Hennessy requesting their intervention.
Cr Briffa said he would also seek the council’s backing to write to Ms Gillard and relevant federal ministers seeking a review of the use of methyl bromide and the possibility of banning the chemical.