BPA-free plastic containers may not be less toxic

Substitutes for BPA plastics may have ingredients that cause similar problems as the product they're replacing.

Nearly two decades ago, researchers found the plastics ingredient known as BPA was causing a sudden increase in abnormal animal egg chromosomes.

The discovery resulted in more products being developed as alternatives, so they didn't contain the toxic ingredient.

However, Washington State University spokesperson, Patricia Hunt, said an array of substitutes used to replace BPA appear to come with similar problems.

Ms Hunt said more work is needed to determine whether some replacements are safer than others.

Plastic products that show physical signs of damage or ageing cannot be considered safe, she said.

Chemicals expert at the University of Melbourne, Professor Ian Rae, said whether someone has been affected by BPA won't be obvious straight away.

"BPA is known to be a hormone mimic. The activity is modest, but BPA is widely used in plastics and other materials and we are all exposed to it in one way or another.

"Because the effects are slow to develop and BPA may affect different people in different ways, it has been hard for regulators and even harder for consumers to assess the risks we may be facing. Most regulators have judged that the toxic effects are below levels of concern."

He said people need to be just as cautious around non-BPA products.

"Some manufacturers, perhaps sensing that bans might be imposed or - to take a more nuanced view - that consumers might respond to concerns expressed by others and avoid BPA-containing products, have taken cautious action.

"Some actions involve the use of materials that do not require the addition of BPA, but others mean turning from BPA to alternatives that can provide the same actions as BPA."


Source: rnz.co.nz

Woman, 72, charged after bus crash that left two pedestrians dead in South Auckland

A 72-year-old woman has been charged over a fatal bus crash in April that left two people dead in Papatoetoe, Auckland.

Taylor Charles King, aged 23, from Papatoetoe and 34-year-old Jeremy Tokotai Kaukasi died after the crash on Puhinui Road in Papatoetoe at about 6.50pm on Saturday, April 14.

The men had just picked up a meal in Papatoetoe when they were hit and killed. Source: 1 NEWS

The two men were crossing the road at the time.

Police say the woman has been summonsed to appear in the Manukau District Court on October 25 to face two charges of careless driving causing death.

A pair of pedestrians were crossing the road when they were struck by the bus at 7pm last night. Source: 1 NEWS

More than half of NZ thinks Te Reo Māori should be core primary school subject, new survey reveals

A new survey reveals more than half of New Zealanders say Te Reo Māori should be a core subject in primary schools.

According to Stats NZ, data about attitudes to the Māori language was collected for the first time in New Zealand's biggest survey of well-being – the General Social Survey (GSS) 2016.

In this survey, 53 per cent of the respondents said they either strongly agreed or agreed that Te Reo Māori should be a core subject in primary schools.

Children are at the centre of Te Reo Māori revitalisation efforts during Maori Language Week. Source: 1 NEWS

"Te Reo Māori is recognised as a taonga, or treasure, for all New Zealanders," labour market and household statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said.

"‘The GSS survey shows about half of New Zealanders have positive attitudes to Te Reo Māori."

The GSS also asked whether the "Government should encourage and support the use of Māori in everyday situations".

Almost half (49 per cent) of adult New Zealanders said they strongly agreed or agreed with this statement.

About 45 per cent supported the statement "signage should be both in Māori and English".

Everyone at the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment's Wellington HQ was singing from the same song sheet as part of the ministry's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori events. Source: 1 NEWS

Thirty-five per cent either strongly agreed or agreed with the statement "it would be good if all people living in New Zealand spoke Māori and English".

Nearly half of New Zealanders had used at least some te reo words or phrases in the previous four weeks.

Support for te reo was strongest among New Zealanders aged 15 - 44 years.

Hīkoia te Kōrero was about celebrating and promoting the Māori language to all New Zealanders. Source: 1 NEWS


Pharmac defends position not to fund bowel cancer drug

Pharmac is defending its position to not fund a drug recommended to patients with late-stage bowel cancer who react severely to regular chemotherapy drugs.

The patients' doctors have recommended an alternative drug - Tomudex - not funded by the national drug-buyer, which they can only get if they pay for it privately or qualify for funding under the "exceptional circumstances" model.

Director of operations Lisa Williams said 250 patients a year could potentially react to standard medication so those that do are not exceptional and do not qualify for special funding.

She said in late 2016 Pharmac was advised reactions were common.

"We wrote to the DHB that had been putting in most of the applications previously and said, 'this doesn't look like an exceptional situation' and we encouraged them to put in a funding application for the product to be listed in the schedule.

"We received a funding application on Monday this week."

Ten applications have been made by individuals for the drug since 2012.

Ms Williams said Pharmac did not follow up with the DHB on advice from its clinical advisory group.

"We spoke with our cancer clinical advisory group and asked them if it was an urgent thing that we should be progressing.

"Their advice was that we should wait for the specialist doctors to make a funding application, because that would tell us whether or not this was something that was of general interest."

She said she was unsure if Pharmac had consulted directly with bowel cancer oncologists.

"We did consult with our expert group of oncologists, but I'm not aware if we consulted with [bowel cancer oncologists] or not.

Auckland woman, 50-year-old Patricia Tear, a sole caregiver to children aged 9 and 11, was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year.

She had surgery followed by chemotherapy but suffered from cardio-toxicity from the drug, known as 5-FU. It recurred in a second attempt and doctors decided it was too risky to repeat.

Ms Tear applied to Pharmac for Tomudex under "exceptional circumstances" but was declined.

Ms Williams said Pharmac received about 1400 exceptional circumstances requests each year but they had to only consider the patient's health situation.

"Pharmac's acutely aware that all New Zealanders are in some way, and at some time, affected by the funding decisions... it's our job to ensure that our decisions are as fair and as robust as possible using clinical advice.

"What we're keen to do is make sure we're looking at the person's health situation and making sure that we're being consistent in the way that we approach funding to make sure all people experiencing the same situation - from a health perspective - are treated equitably."


Source: rnz.co.nz

Armed police comb east Auckland property over alleged clan lab

Armed police have reportedly swarmed an east Auckland property early this morning following suspicions a clan lab has been set up inside the house.

A 42-year-old man was arrested after a planned search warrant was carried out at a property on Kings Road, Panmure, at around 6am.

The suspect will be facing court on charges relating to the manufacturing of drugs at a later date.

An eyewitness told 1 NEWS they could see multiple cars and armed police outside the property.

Inquiries are ongoing and police remain at the scene.

Anyone with concerns or suspicions over possible illegal activity being conducted at a home is encouraged to contact police.

Source: 1 NEWS