To the Clerk of the Agricultural Committee.
Unfortunately health and financial reasons prevent my attendance in person.
My story appears to illustrate the problems involved with the reporting of
injury by pesticides and veterinary medicines and helps to explain why so
few cases have been recognised by the authorities.
I have lived and worked near or with Agricultural chemicals for most of my
life but at 45 years of age I am no longer able to work at all.
My case is well documented and I am able to show that I have been aware
that certain chemicals affect my health adversely for many years. For that
reason I came to wear more than the recommended protective clothing when
those chemicals were in use. Those chemicals included organochlorines which
contain Lindane and various organophosphate products and as manager of the
farm I was able to ensure that the necessary protective clothing was
available. As the sole spray operator on the farm I could control exposure.
However the farm was sold and I worked under the instruction of a foreman
who appears to have broken every rule regarding the production, storage and
disposal of excess dilute chemical. There was then an incident at work
where that diluted organophosphorous pirimiphos methyl was disposed of and
which resulted in my contact with it and eventually my subsequent illness.
My GP knew nothing of the effects of OPs on the human body and believed
that I was merely suffering from a worsening of a mild asthmatic condition
but after numerous tests in three hospitals it was thought that there was
much more to my illness than asthma. None of the half dozen or so doctors
knew of any test for chemical poisoning and all were asked. Some believed
that normal blood tests would show any abnormality caused by chemicals.
I contacted the Health and Safety Executive to seek advice and was told
that pesticides were unlikely to be causing my problems but they would
check out the possibility and visit me if possible. EMAS was contacted.
From details sent by the HSE my symptoms were not those of ingestion which
caused heart and lung function depression and death and therefore I felt
that it would not be wise to report the incident, and thus lose my job, on
the basis of my past knowledge of the chemical's effects alone.
When all medical efforts failed to ease my symptoms I did more research and
discovered that a government sponsored research program was looking into
the very chemical which had caused my illness. My GP contacted the National
Poisons Unit at Guy's and after blood and urine tests I was examined in
September 1992 by a toxicologist who confirmed that it was possible that I
had been poisoned by the organophosphorous chemical. It was, we were told,
urgent that I was seen by five specialists including an ophthalmologist for
my visual problems and a neurologist for the tremors. I was told that it was
important that I persuaded the HSE and the NRA to investigate the incident.
My employer had been prosecuted for water pollution before and I thought it
best to avoid more trouble but I did put pressure on the HSE to no avail.
Those urgent investigations were a very long time coming and my GP, the HSE
and EMAS staff all asked the NPU to complete their investigations. After
many letters including some to my MP a further investigatory appointment
was made for June 1993 and symptoms again fulfilled the poisoning criteria.
I was admitted for an intensive series of tests to a dental surgery ward in
Guy's Hospital, London where I spent some eight days. All the main tests
were with reference to OP poisoning but some were of dubious merit and I
understand that some of the questionnaires used have since been shelved.
I was concerned at the attitude of certain doctors and wrote to my GP
suggesting that there was something amiss and that I felt that things that
happened to me during the tests were dismissed as unimportant, as were some
of the symptoms which I described, whilst it was suggested that I had
certain symptoms which I had never claimed to have. It was for this reason
that I have ensured that all the doctors who have examined me have been
given a booklet describing the history of my illness and a list of symptoms
but Guy’s were given much more information including copies of graphs which
clearly showed that my health deteriorated with every contact with the
chemical. They were also given photographs of bag instructions and actual
manufacturer's leaflets which showed the conflicting information provided
regarding the safety and use of the chemical in its varying forms.
In September 1993 I was recalled to Guy’s for a muscle biopsy and a review
of the results to date when I was told that the NPU would be the only
department in the NHS which would be able to help me. More blood tests and
X-rays followed. I wrote to my GP suspecting duplicity.
The VMD declared in December that OP sheep dip would only be safe if used
by trained operators and later that month Guy’s wrote to my GP that they
were unable to confirm chronic poisoning despite acute symptom consistency.
My GP tried a course of antidepressants which made matters worse.
In February 1994 the Guy’s Eye unit finally used the test which confirmed
my visual problems just as I had described them in 1992 and promised a
referral back to a neurologist in order to investigate the cause further.
That referral never came and my GP referred me to another doctor for a
second opinion. That Doctor confirmed the original diagnosis of OP
Poisoning in May 1994 and has been treating me for such ever since.
In June 1994 Guy’s wrote to my GP asking me to take more tests designed
specifically for those poisoned by OPs and expecting positive results in my
case but those tests were never arranged.
In September 1994 I travelled to St Thomas hospital for further eye tests
to ensure that the visual fields had not deteriorated further but the NPU
had not notified them about which tests to use or what had bean discovered
by them. My explanations were not taken seriously. I was sent home and told
that there was nothing wrong and that I would be told the same no matter
how many times I travelled to London for tests.
In December 1994 Dr Volans, the Director of the NPU, wrote to my GP
withdrawing their diagnosis of poisoning and stated that the case would not
be registered as linked to OPs by the PIAP - much to everyone's disbelief.
The contents of that letter appear to have been released to unauthorised
people for Dr Crane of EMAS had not contacted my GP yet wrote that he had
not been in touch with Dr Volans and had obtained his report "Secondhand".
When my claim for Industrial Injury Benefit was turned down despite the
weight of evidence in my favour I discovered that Dr Volans had written
another letter on the same day to the DSS confirming OP poisoning. Four
days later he again confirmed that I was suffering from PD C3, Causative
agent 4, on the DSS Medical Report Form - yet my own GP was not informed.
No member of the HSE staff has as much as visited me yet Dr Crane of EMAS
has made medical pronouncements which have had profound effects. He has not
made the effort to reply to my last letter despite the seriousness of his
actions. I took my case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman who reported in June
1994. I was able to prove that the HSE had been far from honest with him
but he refused to reopen the case despite my protestations. There is some
evidence of collusion between officials who are suppressing medical facts.
I reported the NPU to the Health Service Ombudsman but have been told to
complain to the Guy’s Trust first. This I have done and I am still awaiting
the results of their investigations.
I am still in the process of forming my appeal to the DSS but have been
promised the full support of my GP.
Manufacturers advise medical help for those who feel unwell when or after
using chemicals. It is no wonder that those in employment do not seek it.
It is also no surprise that officials say that there is no evidence that
the chemicals are dangerous to health. The evidence is suppressed.
Even the manufacturers list the symptoms expected from ingestion of this
cumulative poison. Someone cleared it as a safe food additive.
When the above was seen by staff at the Health and Safety Executive it caused quite a stir within the HSE but the effects dd not last long and the official cover-up of the adverse health effects of OP poisoning continued apace.
Even after the successful High Court case involving a man poisoned when adding the chemical to wheat the poison remained approved as an undeclared food additive.
Even when later the chemical was banned for use on the structure of grain stores because of the health risk to operators the chemical remained approved as an undeclared food additive.
It is still approved for that use to this day, despite calls from a group of scientists in the United States of American in 1997 for an immediate ban on all organophosphorus chemicals used on food and food crops.
The Pesticide Safety Directorate became integrated into the Health and Safety Directorate and was re-named the Chemical Regulation Directorate. "Safety" is obviously not a great concern..
Dated 11/03/1995 Updated 04/03/2016
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