Philip Morris Sold DDT-Coated Tobacco
MICHAEL OWEN-BROWN in The Advertiser (Australia) 04nov03
SydneyŚCIGARETTE MAKER Philip Morris used tobacco coated with high levels of DDT and other pesticide residue between 1972 and 1994.
Industry tests in 1978 found Philip Morris tobacco had DDT levels 40 times higher than permitted under German regulations. The residue was also much higher than those detected in US and British tobacco tests.
There are no government restrictions on the levels of chemicals in tobacco, even though the National Health and Medical Research Council recommended federal intervention more than 20 years ago.
More than seven million previously secret tobacco industry documents have been posted on the Internet after a US court case five years ago.
Simon Chapman of the University of Sydney's School of Public Health said uncovered documents showed pesticide levels in Australian tobacco that were "really, really alarming".
"They said the levels of DDT were at really high levels, from the 1970s to the mid-1990s," Professor Chapman said yesterday. He said the Government should regulate the levels of pesticides and chemical additives in tobacco, yet allowed the industry to regulate itself.
"The stuff could be absolutely pickled in pesticides and there would be no process to pick that up and no process to force the industry to do something about it or tell consumers about it. If these sort of levels were being found in fruit and vegetables, health inspectors would be down there clearing the shelves straight away," he said.
source: http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/printpage/0,5942,7758403,00.html 25nov03