It is unfortunate that Asha Anderson (Irresponsible and dangerous, letters October 11) is making extremist claims, and even more unfortunate that some people may take her claims seriously.
What actual dangers exist? None actually (unless you race off into the 1080 drop zone and start scoffing down pellets).
1080 is sodium fluroacetate, and it is the fluroacetate that is toxic at high levels. At extremely low levels it does absolutely no harm. Ask any tea drinker.
The tea plant produces fluroacetate as a defence mechanism against browsing animals. Every cup of tea you drink contains the exact same toxic chemical as 1080 uses. Fluroacetate.
'The irony is that there was more fluroacetate in the tea that I made than in the water from the creek with three-day-old 1080 pellets in it.'
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It is present in tea at around 2-5 parts per billion (PPB), and at this level presents no problems, as it is quickly flushed out of the human body. It does not bio-accumulate. It rapidly exits both the human body and the environment.
There have been thousands of tests for fluroacetate in waterways after 1080 drops, and it has never been found at detectable levels in any catchments used for human water consumption. Even where is has been found (00.24 per cent of samples) it has never breached MoH guidelines of 2ppb.
Thee web article www.1080facts.co.nz/1080-and-water.html gives an overview of Landcare Research and NIWA studies into 1080 and water. For more information on fluroacetate in tea, please see www.1080facts.co.nz/uploads/2/9/5/8/29588301/1080-traces-in-tea.pdf
After 24 hours there is no trace of fluroacetate remaining in waterways. The irony is that there was more fluroacetate in the tea that I made than in the water from the creek with three-day-old 1080 pellets in it.
There was absolutely no danger at all to me in drinking that. I boiled the water because I was concerned about the possibility of E-coli and giardia.
There is no proof at all that at these levels it affects mitochondrial function and fertility. The only time that happened was to rats when they were force-fed huge, but sub-lethal amounts of 1080 over a long period. Rats subjected to short-term near-lethal doses suffered no such effect. So bollocks to that claim.
Her further claims that there were dead tuna and pigs were based on a very suspect You Tube video. The pig was headless, and looked like it had been gut shot. Trophy hunting, not 1080, was the likely cause.
Scientists have not been able to kill tuna by feeding them a diet of 1080-poisoned mice. So how this one died is still a mystery.
There were dead possums and one dead blackbird. Local hapu had insisted on checking and removing any dead carcasses from waterways, which they started doing at day 3 post-drop.
I chair the NRC's pest management working party, and with that comes responsibilities. Not the least being that the public should have a good understanding of the methods and issues involved with pest control. To let the hysterical few dominate the headlines with scaremongering pseudo-science would be an abrogation of my duty.
I could easily have kept my head down, but I take my position seriously.
1080 is far from perfect. Mistakes have been made in the past, but processes have improved. Huge amounts of science and experience show it is the only thing capable of preventing large-scale extinction of many of our native birds in remote rugged terrain over hundreds of thousands of hectares.
Got a better solution? I'm all ears! www.biologicalheritage.nz/news/think-pieces/why-new-zealand-needs-alternatives-to-1080
CR MIKE FINLAYSON