Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Another British coverup

Organophosphates are dangerous chemicals. Their best known use is probably in nerve agents, but they're also used as pesticides. As you might guess, the latter are dangerous, and can lead to some fairly unpleasant effects if not handled carefully. Which is why they're now banned in the EU. The British government, which used to require the use of organophosphates on farms, has always maintained that it had no idea of the dangers before it banned them. They lied:

Government officials knew of the dangerous health risks to farmers using a chemical treatment in the 1980s and 1990s but still refused to end its compulsory use, documents reveal for the first time.

At least 500 farmers across the UK were left with debilitating health problems after using organophosphate-based (OP) chemicals to protect their sheep against parasites, whose use was mandated by government until 1992.

Successive UK governments have claimed they did not know about the dangers farmers faced using the OPs for sheep dipping at that time and also dispute any link between repeated, low-level use of the chemical and chronic ill health, including serious neurological damage.

It has now emerged that government officials were privately warning of the dangers of exposure to even low doses of the chemical and criticising the safety measures offered by manufacturers, prompting calls by senior political figures for a Hillsborough-style inquiry.

From poisoning to pedophilia, the British establishment's default response to any problem is to lie and cover it up.

Meanwhile, I'm curious as to whether organophosphates were ever mandated in NZ. They've certainly been used here - there was a requirement for sheep dipping until 1993, which has covered the country in toxic sites, but the factsheets on that seem to worry mostly about arsenic and organochlorides like DDT, and there's no mention of specific chemicals being required as they were in the UK.