Call for answers to cancer at PWCS Kooragang site

THE Transport Workers Union has called for further research into the incidence of cancer at Port Waratah Coal Services’s Kooragang Island terminal.

It follows the release of a University of Newcastle study last month  that found the Kooragang workforce had higher-than-average rates of some cancers.

Transport Workers Union Newcastle and Northern sub-branch secretary Mick Forbes said the union wanted to know whether the cancer risk was linked to anything on site.

‘‘The TWU is taking action for our members now because we won’t sit back and watch the next James Hardie fiasco happen to workers in Newcastle,’’ he said.

Port Waratah Coal Services chief executive Hennie Du Plooy said the company had committed to every recommendation  in the university’s health study.

‘‘Accordingly, we’ve engaged an occupational hygienist who is undertaking a detailed evaluation of our operations,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re also convening an expert panel to provide advice on appropriate cancer prevention and screening programs.

“Our expert medical advice shows that the numbers of cancers detected are relatively small. 

‘‘Our medical advice also shows that the majority of cancers detected  are influenced by lifestyle factors and not workplace or environmental factors.”

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