by Peter Gardiner
FIVE years after abandoning her freshwater fish hatchery at Boreen Point, where she bred two and three-headed fish, Gwen Gilson says she is still living a "horror story”.
Ms Gilson believes her health, livelihood and her beloved animals to this day are blighted by chemical contamination, which recently "reared its ugly head” with the birth of eyeless border collie puppies at her home in Cooroibah.
She has also had two bowel cancers removed, and believes her immune system is shot from chemical exposure.
"It's not good. I'm super sensitive to just about anything,” Ms Gilson said.
She is on painkillers and has just had a bone scan. As well, she has booked to see an oncologist and a haematologist who is interested in toxicology.
"I just want to be able to live a normal life and I can't do that,” she said.
In late-September she posted on Facebook: "These last few days, my pain is out of control and it is so difficult to think, let alone think positively.
"I've been watching the clock hands tick by ever so slowly. Hoping and praying for relief soon.
"Miss Jackson has given birth to two lots of pups and both times the puppies were horribly deformed,” Ms Gilson said.
"The second litter again was a single tiny deformed puppy born without any eyes.”
Ms Gilson said this was one of the effects caused by exposure to the agricultural chemical carbendazim, which was banned overseas after human babies were born without eyes. She said traces of this chemical were found throughout the Noosa River.
The Noosa River Fish Health Taskforce investigation failed to come up with any definitive cause for mass fish deaths.
The then state Agriculture Minister Tim Mulherin said the final report found "chemicals may be a contributing factor in some of the events that were investigated” but there was no definitive link established to the deformities at Ms Gilson's Sunland Fish Hatchery. She was forced to sell the Boreen property at half the price and relocate her hatchery.
The marine veterinary researcher who has supported Ms Gilson's claims of chemical contamination through the Noosa River for almost a decade, Dr Matt Landos, believes the latest research sheds new light on the dangers from even minute exposures of agricultural chemicals.
He said CSIRO studies have produced "more concrete pesticides data” which "solidifies the links between harmful unintended exposures and declines in fishery productivity”.
Dr Landos said there were other new findings that chemicals were impacting on the chances of women on IVF treatment falling pregnant or having healthy births.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority said it had responded to the five recommendations directed to it in the final report.
This included the revision of labels of insecticide products. The authority said the taskforce did not recommend the removal of any products.