Tag Archives: organophosphate poisoning

Wheat and other cereals – 1. organophosphate pesticides

29 Nov

A message received from Richard Bruce highlights the lack of reference to “the poisons that are added to the wheat AFTER harvest, in the food grain stores and during processing”. He continues: “Here in the UK tons of the poisons have been admixed with wheat, barley, oats and other food crops every year for decades, often with no withholding times after treatment at all.

“The EU intervention stores demanded that the grains were protected from insect infestation by these products for at least 5 years in store … Bakers have refused delivery of clean wheat unless it is treated with the poisons.

“Even the British Medical Association stated in the publication Pesticides, Chemicals and Health (link only to citation, payment site) that wholemeal bread contained the highest residues of the poison – yet 24 years later it is still approved for use in our food and NEVER appears on the food content labels because it does not have to be declared. The official reason? Because it is classed as a pesticide and not a food additive.

Richard adds that using organic flour should limit intake of the poisons – if the authorities are not permitted to weaken organic standards.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information in the United States aims to ‘advance science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information’. A link from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a research agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services relates an account of organophosphate poisoning after eating a wheat bagel:

Intern Med. 2009;48(2):85-8. Epub 2009 Jan 15: “Organophosphate poisoning due to a wheat bagel”: Kavalci C1, Durukan POzer MCevik YKavalci G. It is stated that organophosphate compounds are possibly the most widely-used insecticides worldwide, causing poisoning – inhibiting acetylcholinesterase at the cholinergic synapses:

After eating a wheat bagel, 13 patients with organophosphate poisoning were admitted to our emergency department. Seven were males and 6 were females. The mean age of the patients was 26 +/- 13.9. The mean serum acetylcholinesterase level was 2945.1+/-2648.9 U/L. Nine patients who had supportive treatment and who were given atropine and pralidoxime were hospitalized approximately 6.8+/-6.5 days. All of the patients recovered after the treatment and no deaths occurred.

In National Geographique (2013), Dana Boyd Barr, an exposure scientist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who has studied organophosphate poisoning recorded that organophosphates are so toxic to humans that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken steps to limit their availability to the public: “The EPA has asked manufacturers to voluntarily eliminate its use [for residential purposes] . . .There are a couple still available for residential garden use, but they’re few.”

Richard asks:

  • Are the increasing incidences of “allergy” to gluten really the symptoms induced by the presence of organophosphates?
  • Does avoiding the gluten also avoid most of the poison?

Part 2 below.



At last: some open official recognition of the damage to health done by organophosphates

23 Feb

op sheriff payneAn inquiry into the death of Richard Westgate, a British Airways pilot, by Stanhope Payne, senior coroner for Dorset, officially recognises the damage done by organophosphate (OP) compounds in aircraft cabins. Five years ago government’s failure to admit this danger and change procedures was highlighted in Political Concern: Bad decisions by government – 11c: permitting toxic chemicals in the home, in aeroplanes, in agriculture and in warfare.

john hoyteFormer pilot John Hoyte, Chairman of the Aerotoxic Association, who experienced the devastating effects of Aerotoxic Syndrome, writes ”We believe it is the air travel dimension of OPs that is keeping it from being admitted – millions of people being daily exposed and getting ‘jetlag’.”

Many sheep farmers have suffered serious physical and mental health problems linked to exposure to OP- based sheep dips, which for many years they were legally compelled to use.

Action is long overdue, as may be seen in eight articles on the Chemical Concern website. There is a pressing need for greater awareness and recognition of their condition by government and doctors. See Paul Wright’s case:(link no longer working 15.4.16) but see FWI account of this case and of the missing document mentioned at the end of this article.

op paul wright

In 2015, the Farmers Guardian headlined the sheep dip sufferers’ continuing fight for justice. With OPs used in sheep dip from the 1970s onwards, campaigners claimed there were potentially thousands of farmers affected by OP poisoning. Sheep dipping was required by law and farmers explained there were few or, in some cases, no health and safety guidelines accompanying the chemicals.

It reported the launch of the Sheep Dip Sufferers Support Group aimed at raising awareness of the issue.

brenda with flowers

The meeting was attended by Brenda Sutcliffe, Littleborough, Rochdale, who has campaigned tirelessly for justice regarding OPs and has long claimed the chemical contributed to the death of her husband, Harold.

Most of those involved in the group had to give up farming due to illness as a result of OP poisoning. The scandal, branded ‘one of the biggest medical cover ups in history’ by members of the newly-formed, has been brought to the attention of MPs, including Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham who advised those campaigning for justice regarding organophosphate poisoning to form a single group in order to have a stronger, unified voice.

Warrington dairy farmer Tom Rigby, who is not an OP sufferer but has had a pivotal role in the formation of the group, said: “The group is for awareness. Officially the problem does not exist so we want people to see it does exist. There is a reluctance to diagnose.” Mr Rigby, who was at the initial Sheep Dip Sufferers Support Group event in Gisburn, Lancashire, last week, said awareness and help for people suffering with a disability was standard in today’s society but there was little awareness of people sensitive to OPs.

op video tom rigbyWatch video online here

On the Political Concern website: the incriminating sheep dip poisoning HSE report – officially destroyed – has now been revealed.