Secret State: how long will government deny the evidence about the effects of pesticide?

19 Mar

CHS award brenda

A very well read post on our Indian website refers to the writings and campaign of organophosphate affected sheep farmer Brenda Sutcliffe (centre, above). Farmers and farmworkers in India and other countries have also suffered from using these substances – but in England it was compulsory for several years- a  government ruling.

On the 15th of March, Brian John (GM Cymru) drew our attention to a paper  published in the journal Neurology (May 2013):

In high-quality case-control studies, (Parkinson Disease) PD risk was increased by exposure to any-type pesticides, herbicides, and solvents. Exposure to paraquat or maneb/mancozeb was associated with about a 2-fold increase in risk. In high-quality case-control studies including an appreciable number of cases (.200), heterogeneity remained significantly high (.40%) only for insecticides, organochlorines, organophosphates, and farming; also, the risk associated with rural living was found to be significant.

Conclusions: The literature supports the hypothesis that exposure to pesticides or solvents is a risk factor for PD. Further prospective and high-quality case-control studies are required to substantiate a cause-effect relationship. The studies should also focus on specific chemical agents. (Neurology_ 2013;80:2035–2041)

Today, pesticide affected farm manager Richard Bruce refers to one of the strands in a trail of evidence in a 2012 draft by the government’s Committee on Toxicity (‎).

Committee toxicity header

In view of the stern warning below, we simply cite the online evidence from the archived Lancet article: Cherry, N., Mackness, M., Durrington, P., Povey, A., Dippnall, M., Smith, T. and Mackness, B. (2002) Paraoxonase (PON1) polymorphisms in farmers attributing ill health to sheep dip. Lancet 359, 763-4.

Committee toxicity header text

The abstract and a link to the paper can be seen here:

Its conclusion: “Our results support the hypothesis that organophosphates contribute to the reported ill health of people who dip sheep”.


Richard gives another sad case:

“Another good friend has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma this week. The poor lady has been through CT, several MRI and now PETT scans, bone and bone marrow biopsy and will now face a prolonged course of two forms of chemotherapy, one injected into the spine, and radiotherapy. She will lose her hair and will be provided with free wigs or the first £100 towards the cost of one made for her, just as with all the breast cancer cases.

Her husband, an agricultural chemical salesman died with an inoperable brain tumour, as did the man whose job he took. Her father, an agricultural worker, also died with cancer. A common story”.

And comments:

Meanwhile the companies that create the poisons supply the NHS with the very expensive drugs and equipment to treat the induced symptoms. No wonder there is a reluctance to stop the gravy train.

Councils spray roads and waste areas with the Roundup toxin, even in towns and cities, it is used on the railways, in gardens and both before planting and before harvesting food crops to reduce harvest and drying costs. Its toxic breakdown product is even found in deep well water.

The cost of all this is enormous and yet despite the “Polluter Pays” principle the poisoners escape censure.

The madness continues, as does the deception used to hide the dangers and the numbers of people harmed.


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