Date: 29 September 2009
The Department of Conservation is urging Waiheke Island environmental group Ocean Aware to have samples of marine birds, oysters and dog vomit independently tested by accredited laboratories.
The Herald on Sunday reported yesterday that Ocean Aware’s Sarah Silverstar had carried out tests on samples collected from Rangitoto and Waiheke using an EAV machine. Ocean Aware claimed the tests showed brodifacoum or 1080 in all samples — including one Waiheke resident.
The newspaper neglected to mention that EAV machines, often used by holistic health centres, simply measure the electrical resistance of the skin. They are not used by accredited laboratories for diagnostic testing.
“How such a machine could possibly register the presence of brodifacoum or 1080 is beyond belief — we have not used 1080 on any Gulf islands for over six years,” says DOC’s acting Auckland Area manager Phil Brown.
“It’s very concerning that Ocean Aware is relying on pseudoscience to test their samples. If they are really concerned they should urgently commission tests — particularly for the local Waiheke resident — from accredited testing laboratories.”
Phil Brown said it was also a major concern that Ocean Aware apparently ignored earlier test results on penguins — that they themselves had commissioned from independent laboratory Landcare — which came back negative for brodifacoum.
National Poisons Centre director Wayne Temple says the poison centre “does not support the use of EAV testing since it is a methodology which has not been scientifically validated.”
“Some practitioners make very wild claims about EAV testing and what it is capable of diagnosing. The US FDA has banned importation of EAV devices into the United States and warned or prosecuted some marketers,” he says.
NZ Food Safety Authority toxicologist John Reeve says that EAV testing was investigated in the 1980s and was “thoroughly discredited”.
“It has never been scientifically validated…Attempts to have it scientifically tested during the 2,4,5-T debate were turned down,” he says.
Phil Brown says the latest claims seem to be part of an ongoing misinformation campaign to undermine the Department’s pest-eradication programmes and the use of both 1080 and brodifacoum.
Tests commissioned by DOC – which revealed low-level traces of brodifacoum in some of the penguins tested – were carried out by independent laboratory Landcare.