29 June 2000
Aircrew, cat-lovers can help OP victims

AIRCRAFT crew and cat owners could help sheep farmers in their fight for changes in the use of organophosphates, claims an MP.

Many sheep farmers have long claimed that exposure to OP sheep dips has affected their health and want compensation and the chemicals outlawed.

Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon Paul Tyler says because they are a small group, their concerns have not been treated seriously enough.

But there is growing concern over the effects of OPs in aircraft engine lubricants leaking into aircraft cabins, and exposure through OPs on cat flea collars.

“Sheep farmers may live to bless the fact that OPs are used in other capacities, and other walks of life,” Mr Tyler told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

“They may benefit from the fact that a large minority in the general public are being affected by OPs.

“Together we may have an impact we wouldnt have individually,” said the MP who chairs the Parliamentary all-party OP group.

In a debate into OPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday (28 June) it emerged that 1.6m was being spent to find safer alternatives to OPs.

Mr Tyler described this figure as “paltry”.

OP sheep dips are currently withdrawn until safer containers are designed.