Factsheet: The Health Support Service for Dioxin Exposed People

Factsheet: The Health Support Service for Dioxin Exposed People

HE Code: 
Leaflet A4 (online only)
Publication date: 
5 August 2008
Status: PDF available to download.
For those exposed to dioxin from the former Ivon Watkins Dow factory in New Plymouth, explaining the support service and how to access it.

The Health Support Service for Dioxin Exposed People is for people who were exposed to dioxin from the former Ivon Watkins Dow factory in Paritutu, New Plymouth. It aims to help people stay healthy by promoting healthy lifestyles, reducing modifiable risk factors, and supporting the early detection of diseases.

Who can use this Service?

You can use this Service if you are entitled to publicly funded services in New Zealand, and if you meet any one of the following criteria:

  1. You lived within the defined area for at least one year between 1962 and 1969 or five years between 1970 and 1987 OR
  2. You worked at the IWD factory for at least six months between 1962 and 1987 OR
  3. You worked elsewhere within the defined area for at least one year between 1962 and 1969 or five years between 1970 and 1987 OR
  4. You lived at the power station workers’ camp, to the north of the IWD factory, for at least six months between 1969 and 1974 OR
  5. You were a pupil at Moturoa primary school for at least one year between 1962 and 1969 or five years between 1970 and 1987.

What streets are in the defined area?

The following streets are in the defined area: Blyde Road, Breakwater Road (from Normas Way to the west end of the road), Bridger Lane, Buckland Place, Catherine Crescent, Centennial Drive (from Ngamotu Road to Rangitake Drive), Crownhill Street, Darwin Crescent, Eton Place, Findlay Street, Hakirau Street, Harbour Street, Herekawe Drive, Hobart Drive, Hutchen Place, Lydford Place, Marama Crescent, Maui Place, Melrose Street, Moturoa Street, Mt View Place, Naumai Place, Newton King Street, Ngamotu Road, Norton Place, Norwich Avenue, Paritutu Road, Parris Street, Pioneer Road, Pomare Place, Port View Crescent, Rangitake Drive, Rawinia Street, Renown Place, Rosendale Avenue, Rospeath Crescent, Scott Street, Seacombe Terrace, Simons Street, South Road (west or north side of the road only from Squire Place to Severn Place), Station Road, Tahurangi Place, Tay Street, Tohora Place, Tohu Place, Tunai Street, Weston Street, and Wharf Street.

Do I have to live in New Plymouth to use the Service?

No. The Service is available throughout New Zealand. 

Will my children or grandchildren be able to use the Service?

Your children or grandchildren can use the Service if they are entitled to publicly funded services in New Zealand and if they meet any one of the eligibility criteria.

What services can I use?

Eligible people get a free annual health check from their doctor or practice nurse. Because every person’s health needs are different, your doctor or nurse will want to know what your needs are and make sure that you use services that help you stay healthy. Your health check depends on your medical history and current health needs. 

Generally, your doctor or nurse will:

  • talk about dioxin exposure and its health effects
  • ask about your health
  • assess any health risks like smoking, blood pressure, and cholesterol level
  • provide brief advice about things that will help you to stay healthy
  • talk about any mental health concerns you may have
  • check for symptoms of diseases or conditions linked to dioxin exposure
  • do a physical examination if necessary
  • refer you to other services if you need them.

Other services you could be referred to are physical activity programmes, services to help maintain a healthy diet, programmes to help quit smoking or reduce alcohol use, or mental health services. 

Your doctor may also refer you to services to talk about genetic concerns or serum dioxin testing. These services will be available if you need them.

Will I need to pay?

The health check is free. All prescriptions, tests, or treatments will be funded as they normally are. Genetic counselling and serum dioxin testing will be free if you are referred. Other components of the Service are likely to be free or very low cost. 

How do I get my health check?

You will need to make an application to have your eligibility assessed. If you are eligible, you will be sent a letter (the confirmation of eligibility letter). When you get your confirmation of eligibility letter, you will need to make an appointment with your usual doctor. When you go for the appointment, you will need to give your confirmation of eligibility letter to the practice nurse or doctor. You will be sent a new confirmation of eligibility letter every year. 

What information will I get about dioxin and health?

Your doctor and practice nurse will tell you about dioxin exposure and health and answer your questions. To help, the Ministry of Health has given doctors and nurses information about dioxin and health. Your doctor or nurse can also contact an expert if you have more specific questions. More information about dioxin and health is included on the Ministry of Health’s website.

Will I need to give any information to the Ministry of Health or my GP?

A database records information about people who apply for eligibility assessment. This database is used for communications and monitoring. It is managed by the Ministry of Health. Information will not be shared with other parties unless the explicit permission of individuals is granted.

Do I have to take part in the health support service?

No. You do not have to make an application. If you make an application and are assessed as being eligible but change your mind, you can decide at any time that you do not want to take part. If this happens, you will need to fill in a withdrawal form.

What happens to my information if I withdraw?

If you withdraw from the Service, the Ministry of Health will retain information on your participation. This information is used for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or practice nurse can tell you more about accessing health services.

You can get an application form, more information about the Service, and information about dioxin exposure and its health effects from the Ministry of Health.

Our contact details are:

Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013

Email: emailmoh@moh.govt.nz
Telephone: 0800 288 588
Website: www.moh.govt.nz/dioxins