WHAT DID WE ASK FOR?
“I am seeking clarification on whether the CHaIRS group, to which the FSA provided secretarial support as a member, met in December of last year and am requesting the final minutes of this 7th meeting of the Chemical Hazards and Identification Risk Surveillance group (CHaIRS)which was postponed from September.
I am particularly interested in whether the minutes contain reference to “The Rhodia incident” white phosphorus poisoning of wildfowl at Rattlechain Mere(lagoon) referred to in 3 previous CHaIRS meetings, and the subsequent positive tests carried out on a
Canada Goose, mallard and coot earlier in the year and subsequent statement by the VLA that the incident “confirms white phosphorus release is occurring from the site”.
Have the CHaIRS group been updated on this issue regarding that two further mallards and a black headed gull are awaiting testing for P4?
Can you also confirm that the CHaIRS group is still continuing given that some member quangos such as VLA and Animal Health are merging soon, and the dates for these scheduled meetings?”
WHY DID WE ASK THIS?
This was a follow up request, given that a previous request indicated that the minutes had not been yet formalised. As this group supposedly was a forum exchange, we wanted to know if the recent updates regarding birds confirmed to have been exposed to P4 was being passed on from local contacts within the various organistaions of the CHaIRS group.
WHAT DID THEY KNOW?
“The Rhodia investigation is referred to under Any Other Business (pages 5-6 refer).”
“GU provided an update to members on the ongoing Rhodia incident involving alleged white phosphorous poisoning amongst wild birds at a Rhodia site. GU informed members that the HPA had been contacted by Rhodia in relation to concerned members of the public who had seen material released as part of an FOI request. Due to the public concerns Rhodia is looking to commission an independent study to consider human health risks.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The word “alleged” is nonsense. These birds had been exposed to P4 and had been poisoned. For whatever reason, to continue along this line damages the professionalism of both the commentator and the organistaion being represented. The fact that our Freedom of information request had revealed the lack of investigation involving the CHaIRS group concerning this incident is as “concerning” as the attitude of Rhodia to the issue. There were “concerned members of the public” who had reported dead birds being present on the lake, and “concerned members of the public” who had found out that the said lake contained toxic rat poison in the sediment. The same “concerned members of the public” had tried to get the authorities to take the matter seriously to be met with scepticism and pure ignorance. It was only when these “concerned members of the public” went public with the information, that the likes of Rhodia and the quangos within the CHaIRS group started to become “concerned” themselves. Those “concerned members of the public” were SANDWELL SWANWATCH.
The disclosure concerning Rhodia’s PR move concerning human health- by now they must have realised they had lost the battle to try to explain away the bird deaths, was a whole new set of freedom of information requests to the HPA.