Providing advice and information on hazardous substances
Effective management of hazardous substances throughout their lifecycle is necessary to avoid adverse health effects from either direct exposure or environmental contamination. Community and Public Health’s role relates to situations where there exists a need to protect public health, not withstanding other agencies’ responsibilities. Staff provide information and advice to the public on hazardous substances including:
- Lead and lead poisoning
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Community and Public Health will coordinate testing of suspected asbestos materials. Please be aware there is a cost for this service.
Under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act, other agencies also have substantial hazardous substances roles and responsibilities including:
- WorkSafe NZ is responsible for ensuring that the provisions of the Act are enforced in any place of work. They are a division of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
- Councils are responsible for ensuring that the provisions of the Act are enforced in or on any premises situated in their district, other than those premises specified in section 97 HSNO Act as being the responsibility of another agency.
Get additional information about hazardous substances and the HSNO legislation (NZ Environmental Protection Authority or EPA)
How to stay safe with gardening products
Weed-killers, pest sprays, fertilizers and many other gardening products are considered ‘hazardous substances’. You should take special care when using, storing and disposing of these products to protect yourself, others and the environment.
Call the Poisons Centre for more advice on 0800 764 766 (0800 POISON).
Call 111 immediately if a person is not breathing or is unconscious.
Looking at the hazardous effects of radiation
The National Centre for Radiation Science is the lead public health agency for radiation issues. Community and Public Health also carries out some activities, including:
- responding to inquiries and complaints
- reviewing resource consent applications relating to ionising and non-ionising radiation and staff may also respond to radiation emergencies.
Ionising radiation is radiation which has sufficient energy to knock electrons out of (i.e. ionise) atoms. X-rays and gamma rays are types of ionising radiation, as are the particulate radiations of alpha and beta particles that are found in some types of nuclear decay. Ionising radiation is what the general public regards as ‘radioactive’.
Non-ionising radiation includes electromagnetic fields in the form of extremely low frequency fields, visible light (including lasers), microwave (including microwave ovens and cell-phone transmissions), radiofrequency fields, ultra violet and infrared.
Get further advice and information on radiation from one of the following links:
Contact your local CPH office for further information:
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125
Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091
Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169
For additional information, contact:
Environmental Protection Authority
Ph: 0800 376 234
Asbestos advice for Christchurch householders
WorkSafe NZ has been investigating the testing and management of asbestos during repair work carried out in homes in Christchurch following the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.
Visit the Asbestos Aware website to help understand the risks associated with asbestos and how these are best managed.