1080 not a problem in water

LETTER

Alain Jorion (9 May 2018) is concerned at the possibility of 1080 being used for pest control in Gisborne’s water catchment area. I’d just like to reassure Alain that as Dr Mike Joy says, 1080 in fresh water is not a problem.

Thousands of water samples have been taken after 1080 drops. No water sample from the intake for a municipal water supply has ever tested positive for 1080; 96 percent of all samples have been completely clear of 1080; 4 percent, from small streams in the bush, have found very low levels — 1 or 2 parts per billion or even less — which disappear within 24 hours.

Wellington’s water supply catchments get 1080 every three years or so, and no 1080 has ever been detected in the water supply.

There are two things about 1080 which make it safe in fresh water. First, it dilutes very rapidly and becomes an undetectably small fraction of the water. Second, it is broken down by common soil bacteria and fungi, which are present in all natural water.

Alain is wrong when he says that 1080 has been found to kill eels and crayfish. They have experimented with feeding these animals 1080 baits and poisoned possums. No animals died from 1080. Their flesh was found to contain a low level of 1080 which was excreted over the course of a few days.

When Alain challenges councillors to “put 1080 pellets in a water container and drink it”, he misunderstands the power of dilution. If you drink a glass of water with an 8-gram bait in it, you will take in 12mg 1080 — not advisable. If you drink from a stream three days after a 1080 drop — as I have done — you will take in no 1080.

I urge the people of Gisborne not to be swayed by anti-science scare tactics when you are making the best choice for Gisborne’s pest control.

Sue Boyde, Paraparaumu

Alain Jorion (9 May 2018) is concerned at the possibility of 1080 being used for pest control in Gisborne’s water catchment area. I’d just like to reassure Alain that as Dr Mike Joy says, 1080 in fresh water is not a problem.

Thousands of water samples have been taken after 1080 drops. No water sample from the intake for a municipal water supply has ever tested positive for 1080; 96 percent of all samples have been completely clear of 1080; 4 percent, from small streams in the bush, have found very low levels — 1 or 2 parts per billion or even less — which disappear within 24 hours.

Wellington’s water supply catchments get 1080 every three years or so, and no 1080 has ever been detected in the water supply.

There are two things about 1080 which make it safe in fresh water. First, it dilutes very rapidly and becomes an undetectably small fraction of the water. Second, it is broken down by common soil bacteria and fungi, which are present in all natural water.

Alain is wrong when he says that 1080 has been found to kill eels and crayfish. They have experimented with feeding these animals 1080 baits and poisoned possums. No animals died from 1080. Their flesh was found to contain a low level of 1080 which was excreted over the course of a few days.

When Alain challenges councillors to “put 1080 pellets in a water container and drink it”, he misunderstands the power of dilution. If you drink a glass of water with an 8-gram bait in it, you will take in 12mg 1080 — not advisable. If you drink from a stream three days after a 1080 drop — as I have done — you will take in no 1080.

I urge the people of Gisborne not to be swayed by anti-science scare tactics when you are making the best choice for Gisborne’s pest control.

Sue Boyde, Paraparaumu

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Baz Davies - 8 days ago
I guess it's the thought of 1080 in the water that most people object to. But the real problem is the amount of dead animals rotting in our water supply that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
We used to carry out a culling operation in the water catchment on an annual basis. All of this catchment can easily be covered by a ground-based poisoning and trapping programme.
This eliminates non-target species being poisoned and focuses on the target species. In my view the No.1 pests in NZ are stoats, weasels, ferrets, wild cats, possoms, rats and mice.
The mustelid family of pests predate mainly on rats and mice. They do not readily eat pellets or dead animals. Rats and mice eat the pellets and when the population of rats and mice declines, mustelids will feed on the birdlife.
Controlling these pests involves specialised trapping that targets that species.
1080 is not winning the war against pests - it's an indiscriminate killer, a short fix that needs to be applied every few years to temporarily decrease pest populations.
After more than 60 years of 1080 use, the only places that are pest-free are offshore island sanctuaries and areas enclosed by pest-proof fences.
Problem is, what other options are available at this time to protect our birdlife?

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