9 July 1999

300-plus set to take court action on OPs

ARABLE farmers could join hundreds of sheep producers in a legal action against organophosphate pesticide manufacturers.

More than 300 sheep farmers and workers could go to court in what is set to become the biggest case ever involving OP sheep dip. They could now be joined by arable farmers who have used OP-based chemicals used to kill insect pests in grain stores.

Peter Bright, of Plymouth-based Wolferstans is representing OP victims and said compensation for the 32 worst affected people could reach more than £100,000 each.

"We are suing for compensation under the Consumer Protection Act or under the several laws of negligence. We say the warnings on the products were inadequate for the people to whom they were addressed," said Mr Bright.

He is also considering legal action on behalf of a further 280 farmers and workers who have come forward claiming they have OP poisoning.

"Even if these people only get £10,000 each, we are still talking millions," he said.

"If we can prove that OPs in sheep dip cause these symptoms, it should be reasonable that OPs in other pesticides should cause them, too," he said.

Mr Bright said sheep shearers, contract dippers, and truckers handling grain should also obtain legal advice if they felt they had been affected by working with OPs.

Contact Peter Bright (01752-663295).