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Informing . . . Invercargill author Amanda Nally has written a book about selenium deficiency in New Zealand with the help of research gathered by former Balfour farmer the late Les Hailes. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

More than 40 years of cutting out newspaper clippings and research has resulted in a book about selenium deficiency.

Just Cause and Effect is an expose on selenium deficiency in New Zealand.

The book is a joint venture between former Otautau farmer the late Les Hailes, who completed much of the research, and Amanda Nally, a former journalist.

Mr Hailes died in October last year.

The book was launched at the end of the year.

Mrs Nally said that before she met Mr Hailes in 2014, he had taken his research to university lecturers and health professionals.

“They said to him, fascinating, you should write a paper,”‘ Mrs Nally said.

There seemed to be an idea in university circles that unless evidence was presented as a paper it did not have any credibility, she said.

After Mrs Nally met Mr Hailes she agreed to write a book using the research he had collected.

“The idea was, let’s write a book that everyone can understand.”

Mr Hailes became interested in the topic in the late 1950s after he started drenching his sheep and cattle with selenium and noticed a big difference in their health.

He began to wonder if selenium had the same effect on human wellbeing which is when he started his research.

Mr Hailes concluded low selenium was the cause of many Southlanders’ poorer health compared with the rest of New Zealand.

Statistics show higher numbers of Southlanders suffer from diseases including bowel cancer, asthma and heart disease.

“Everything that links to selenium we over-represent in, and we shouldn’t because we are wealthier than the rest of the country.

“Southland is the bowel cancer capital of the world.”

The book was easy to read and organised according to topics, she said.

The different health problems caused by a lack of selenium are discussed and why selenium deficiency became more common in the 1960s is explained.