‘I’m the last one left from Linton’

by admin on January 20th, 2019

filed under 南京夜网

“Why did they all die working for the Lands Department?”
Nanjing Night Net

Ewen “Cameron” Ching –the last of the Linton spray hands –has outlived his colleagues, with whom he made and sprayed batches of toxic chemicals.

But he says he’ll be next.

The 78-year-old has Parkinson’s, bowel disease, cysts on his liver and kidney, and his pancreas has shut down.

Mr Chingis yet to hear from the state government since making his submission to the inquiry into the toxic chemicals –including Agent Orange and Mustard Gas–that he and his colleagues used without protection for decades.

Nor was he notified of a freemedical screening forall former and current spray hands, one of threerecommendations from the inquiry adopted by the government when it released its findings on the former Lands Department, now Department of Environment and Primary Industries,in March this year.

“Why did they all die working for the Lands Department?,” Mr Ching said.

“They’re all dead, it just wiped them out.

“There’s only one left and that’s me.

“I shouldn’t say but I’ll be the next, the way I’m going.”

I’m next: Ewen Ching, 78, suffers from Parkinson’s, bowel disease, cysts on his liver and kidney, and his pancreas has shut down. Mr Ching worked as a spray hand for 23 years. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric.

He is still looking for answers as to what caused the litany of ailments he has endured since he developedperipheral neuropathy –a nerve disease –in 1998, two years after taking a redundancy package andafter more than two decades in the job.

When he was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, he was told by doctors it could be linked to his exposure to toxins.

However doctors have been unable to identify exactly what has caused his pancreas to shut down.

“Spraying it in your system eight hours a day for 23 years, it’s got to affect you somehow,” Mr Ching said.

“From the time we left home to the time we got home, we never washed our hands … I never washed mine, we had nothing to wash them with.

“Years ago, you wanted a job and that was it,it didn’t matter what you were in or up against, you had to do your job.”

Mr Ching worries he might die before a resolution is found.

“What happens if I die in between, and the case comes up? Does my wife get anything out of that?”

Former Linton spray hand Ewen “Cameron” ChingThe Courierbroke the “toxic legacy” of the formerLands Department workers exposure to potent chemicals in 2014.

The Andrews government launched an inquiry in late 2014.

The report found that prior to 1981,exposureto a contaminant of 245T called TCDD may causenon-Hodgkin lymphoma orsoft sarcoma.

The report also noteda consensusamong academic papersfrom the 1980s finding alink between exposure toTCDDand the incidence ofcancer butthat the many causes of cancer meant it was impossible to be certain that was the cause.

‘I’ll be next’: Ewen “Cameron” Ching at his Wendouree home in 2014. Mr Ching’s health has continued to deteriorate since The Courier broke the story.

Toxic legacy is‘Fiskville all over again’Former Maryborough spray hand Adrian McKinnis wishes he left the Lands Departmentwhen he first first feltthecocktail of now-banned chemicals he used to mixsink their teeth into his system.

Mr McKinnis, who retired from the department after 33 years spraying, has twice beaten bowel cancer, and has severe kidney disease in his one kidney.

His was one of 75 submissions made to the Former Lands Department Chemical Inquirybut he and his wife Jude haven’t heard anything since their submission was acknowledged almost a year ago, in November last year.

The couple had hoped the report would bring recognition and compensation for his years of illness.

Mrs McKinnis can still remember the smell of spray soaked into his overalls, and would wash his clothes separate to the clothesof their four children.

“It’s like Fiskville isn’t it, it’s the same thing,” she said.

“It’s been a long time since I would say he’s a well person,I think he’s just getting worn out by the accumulation (of illnesses).”

Former Maryborough spray hand Adrian McKinnisGovernment pledgs to monitor illnesstrendsThe state government says it willmonitor medical screenings of former Lands Department and Forestry Commission workers to see if a pattern of illnesses emergebesides the three conditions identified in achemical inquiry.

The inquiry into the former Lands Department, now the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, released in March found linksexposure to the chemical245Twithnon-Hodgkin lymphoma,soft tissue sarcoma and chloracne.

Now-banned chemicals, including aconcoction similar to Agent Orange,were sprayed by department employeesfor decades without protection.

Former spray handshave reported a legion of illnesses including Parkinsons, cancer and kidney disease,which they attributeto yearsspraying now-banned chemicals.

The department sent letters to 3000 former and current workers employed between 1965 and 1985 to notify them of the screening,a DELWP spokesperson said.

DELWP spokespersonThe Courierspoke to had been contacted about the screening, raising concerns as recently as May that thenotification process and consultation itself wereinsufficient.

Their conditions range from cancers, neurological conditions andlung, liver, bowel and heart problems.

It is not yet known how many of those who completed the screening reported a history of conditions linked to chemical exposure, the spokesperson said.

“Where there is clear evidence of a link established through the Worker Health Study or through significant numbers of former sprayers having contracted the cancers, the government will consider appropriate options for the workers affected.”

The department did not provide a time frame fora policy response or specifically mention compensation.

Asked whether there would be further contact between the government and affected workers, the spokesperson said theywillbe kept informed “iffurther evidence comes to light”.

Read more:

TOXIC LEGACY:Part One

TOXIC LEGACY:Part Two

Inquiry into historical chemical use by the Victorian Lands Department in Ballarat area announced

Toxic legacy response afarce: spray hand

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