Hazardous substances-related deaths registered in New Zealand

This section presents information on all deaths related to hazardous substances in New Zealand from 2001–18.  The data comes from the New Zealand Mortality Collection dataset from the Ministry of Health.

Every year, people in New Zealand continue to die from exposure to hazardous substances. Common exposures include inhalation of carbon monoxide, huffing of butane, and exposure to pesticides, solvents, cleaning agents, and paints. These deaths are often preventable (Environmental Protection Authority 2013).  

Documents

Factsheet: Hazardous substance-related deaths (Dec 2021) Download report PDF
Metadata: Hazardous substance-related deaths (Dec 2021) Download report PDF

In 2018, there were 40 hazardous substances-related deaths within New Zealand. The number of deaths has been similar since 2011. From 2001–04 to 2015–18, mortality rates have decreased by approximately 70% (2.8 per 100,000 compared to 0.8 per 100,000) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Hazardous substances-related mortality rate, by sex, 2001–18

Figure 1 Hazardous substances related mortality rate by sex 200118

Notes: 95% confidence intervals have been presented as error bars. See Metadata for more information on how to interpret this graph.
Source:
New Zealand Mortality Collection, Ministry of Health (2021).

Among people whose deaths were related to hazardous substances from 2001–18 there were:

Differences by ethnic group:

From 2001–04 to 2015–18, mortality rates for European/Other and Māori ethnic groups decreased by over 60%. Over the same time, rates among Pacific Peoples have not changed substantially.

From 2001–18, over a third of all hazardous substances-related deaths recorded for Māori and Pacific Peoples were listed as unintentional deaths. This is substantially higher than the proportion of unintentional deaths recorded for European/Other and Asian ethnic groups, 7% and 4% respectively.

Differences by age:

Among children (0–14 years), there were a total of four deaths related to hazardous substances from 2015–18. Given these low counts, rates were not calculated. Mortality rates in all age groups 15 years and older were similar over this time period. 

 Differences by region:

In 2015–18, West Coast District Health Board experienced a higher hazardous substances-related mortality rate than the New Zealand rate.

 For a further breakdown of demographic information, as well as graphs and tables, see the factsheet.

There were 1,284 hazardous substances-related deaths recorded in New Zealand from 2001–18, with the most common category being carbon monoxide poisonings, accounting for 78% of deaths. Of all the hazardous substance categories, gases, fumes and vapours deaths are the
only category that increased substantially from the 2000’s to the 2010’s. See Table 1 below for a full breakdown.

 

Information about the data

This indicator reports on hazardous substances-related deaths registered in New Zealand using data from 2001
onwards. This indicator is an analysis of the most recent data available from The Mortality Collection Dataset,
provided to EHINZ by the Ministry of Health in August 2021. Data has been pooled to give sufficient numbers for
analysis where appropriate.

This factsheet includes data covered by the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 and Health Act’s
“poisoning arising from chemical contamination of the environment”. For more information, see metadata for ICD-10 codes that are covered in this analysis.

Crude rates presented in this factsheet do not take into account varying age distributions when comparing
between populations.

Age-standardised rates presented in this factsheet take into account varying age distributions when comparing
between populations

References:

Environmental Protection Authority. 2013. Monitoring the Effectiveness of the Hazardous Substances and New
Organisms Act 1996. URL: https://www.epa.govt.nz/assets/RecordsAPI/ac9ce4bf76/Monitoring-the-effectiveness-of-the-HSNO-Act-2013.pdf (accessed November 2021).

 

 

 

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