Email from Tom Rigby received Feb 27 2015
The HSE report was in my Inbox when I got home from a of days at NFU conference where for me the highlight was John Humphrys while chairing one session said farmers had been made ill by OP sheep dip. I told him afterwards that was the first time someone had said that on the platform in the many years I’d been attending.
“Really?” he said “I know people that have been affected”. I think the next NFU person to appear on the Today programme may need to be briefed on the issue.
The standard DEFRA response is to say that there is no evidence to show low level OP exposure has any affect on health and if toxic effects do occur then they are “minor and subtle”. That might be true but only because they define ‘low level’ as being the dose level below which any affects are noticed.
DEFRA do recognise the problems of high level exposure where acute effects require immediate medical attention but the dose many farmers receive when handling a recently dipped sheep (or indeed cattle treated with an OP pour-on, servicing a crop sprayer or treating a grain bin) is neither ‘high’ or ‘low’ but intermediate.
Publication of the report means we can now say chronic poisoning due to “cumulative effect of OPs” (p.3) and “Organophosphorus Induced Delayed Polyneuropathy” (p.11) were officially recognised in 1990 even if it seems they have been denied ever since. The report also highlights the potential health-damaging effects of Phenols and impurities (TEPPs) which both contributed to the problem but ignored in all research since.
OP poisonings in the UK An email from Tom Rigby received February 22nd 2015
I don’t think Warmwell has reported much on organophosphates of late but fyi I've decided to put a leaked HSE report on-line here and issue this press statement: