Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MSF calls for an independent toxicologist

MSF calls for an independent toxicologist

MSF calls for an independent toxicologist

MSF is concerned by the contents of the article in the Phnom Penh Post of

November 26, 1999, on the toxic waste. The article describes how the health

situation of the population in Betrang village in Sihanoukville/Kompong Som

seriously deteriorated after MSF withdrew its medical team at the end of

February 1999.

According to the alarming news in the article, by now "14

strong healthy people have died, that should not have died."

First, we

must admit that this is not what we had expected to happen, once the waste was

removed. According to information we had received at the time we were treating

the victims, the toxic waste was - mainly - highly contaminated with mercury. At

the end of February 1999, the time of withdrawal of our medical staff, we had

seen quite some improvement in the health of the affected persons and we had

based our general forecast on the known sixty-day half-life of mercury in the

human body. In other words, we thought the health problems would disappear

rather quickly.

However, if - as we read - by now 14 strong and healthy

people have died, it strengthens an earlier suspicion that other toxins are

involved as well. This is also mentioned in the excellent May 1999 Human Rights

Report "Toxic Justice."

As it looks, it is recommended to appoint as soon

as possible a highly qualified independent toxicologist to re-investigate the

situation.

Unfortunately, MSF does not have highly qualified

toxicologists nor do we have the sophisticated equipment that might be needed

for such an investigation. This kind of work far exceeds our competence.

We keep the medical records of the 1,300 persons who received medical

treatment from us in early 1999 in our archives, and we will be happy to provide

any independent toxicologist with copies of the many thousands of pages of

health data that were collected by our medical team.

Hopefully, these

medical records can help independent scientists to establish objectively the

deterioration of the health of the victims as a consequence of their contact

with Formosa Plastics' waste. Our sympathy was and still is with the victims of

the toxic waste, who are waiting too long for justice to be

done.

Maurits Van Pelt

Country Representative

MSF Holland,

Belgium, Switzerland in Cambodia

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • Two major S’ville events could jumpstart international tourism: insiders

    Preah Sihanouk province is set to host two major international tourism-related events in late 2021 and early 2022, which insiders expect to ignite new interest among new and repeat foreign holidaymakers into visiting the Kingdom and significantly raise tourist arrivals from near zero in the Covid era.