The Beagle Editor, Everybody knows that bushfires are dangerous and that burning plastics are very toxic, but few understand the full extent of how dangerous burning plastics can be. I won’t go into the horrors of deformed children in places like Seveso in Italy, Bhopal in India and many places in Vietnam, but it should be known that burning plastic produces large amounts of dioxin, one of the most lethal terategenic substances known to man and the substance that, owing to various different circumstances, caused the ongoing birth deformities in the above places.
In Batemans Bay, our industrial area lies to the south west of the town — the direction from which the greatest bushfire danger comes. Our industrial area contained a large motor wreckers which went up in smoke, probably around midday when the smoke was at its worst and turned day into night. My son and I, amongst thousands of other people were in town seeking refuge from the fires at that time and were in and out of cars going to and from evacuation centre buildings and the like. We all were likely exposed to the toxins from the large amount of plastics in those burning cars. Local councils need to ensure that this sort of things does not happen again, locating any business that contains or uses a lot of plastic well away from town and in a safer direction probably to the north, but that would be a matter for research. Councils are of course subject to control by various government departments, and I believe that these departments should be involved in coordinating a sensible response to this danger in every town and region. Dioxin accumulates in the body, especially in the liver and once a critical level has been reached, the individual will produce deformed children and will never again produce anything other than deformed children. Plastics are a grave danger in our lives, especially when coupled with fire and the safety issues must not be ignored. Matt Mason Batemans Bay