Shearers poisoned

Published: Friday 31 July 1998

Hazardous wool it is feared that several Victorian shearers may have been poisoned by a chemical linked to the manufacture of nerve gas, according to labour unions in Australia. The Australian Workers Union ( awu ) is contacting shearers exposed to the chemical diazinon. The chemical has been found in many sheep dips.

According to Bill Shorten, awu organiser, many shearers may have been poisoned by using diazinon products in confined spaces or through getting it on their clothes and skin. Diazinon is a chemical called organophosphates, which is used to derive nerve gas.

Shorten says that three shearers in New South Wales were recently given more than us $160,000 each in damages after it was found they had been poisoned with a sheep dip containing diazinon. The shearers filed a case against a pastoralist after they suffered nausea, headaches, skin rashes and aches.

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