THE scientists who sparked an inquiry into St Helens drinking water are refusing to hand over the science to a review panel.
Marine ecologist Marcus Scammell and St Helens GP Alison Bleaney want the CSIRO in Sydney to judge the science, because they do not trust the State Government with the information.
“I trust the panel but I don’t trust its boss, the Premier,” Dr Scammell said.
“The panel can be dismissed at any time if it’s coming up with the wrong answers.”
Dr Scammell and Dr Bleaney paid for the tests that found an unknown toxin, thought to come from plantation eucalypts, in the George River.
The toxin is harmful to human cells and Dr Bleaney has linked it to what she says is a high rate of rare cancers in the North-East.
Last week, at the request of Premier David Bartlett, Environment Protection Authority chairman John Ramsay convened a panel of scientists to review the research and determine whether the toxin posed a risk to drinking water, shellfish and waterways.
Mr Ramsay gave Dr Scammell and Dr Bleaney until last Friday to hand over the work but they missed the deadline.
Dr Bleaney has questioned the independence and expertise of Mr Ramsay’s panel of six scientists.
“You need experts in that field,” she said.
No-win no-fee lawyers Slater & Gordon are acting for an unknown donor, who is paying for expensive work in New Zealand to come up with a quick and cheap test for the toxin’s presence.
The lawyers have written to Mr Ramsay, saying the work will not be handed over because of concerns about the panel’s independence.
Dr Scammell wrote to Mr Ramsay yesterday, proposing the CSIRO in Sydney review the lab work.