14 July 1995

Campaign is under way to lift sheep dip awareness

By Liz Mason

SHEEP dip chemicals blamed for ill-health in farmers will be reviewed again at the end of the year.

Renewed warnings will also be sent to doctors telling them that sheep dip chemicals may be responsible for "diverse symptoms" in their farming patients.

The warning is a part of a government move to raise awareness of sheep dip exposure after a meeting between Angela Browning, Ministry of Agriculture junior minister, and Baroness Cumberledge, junior health minister.

A Department of Health statement said: "All doctors are to be reminded of the need to consider the possibility that exposure to organophosphates, or other chemicals used in sheep dips, may be causing diverse symptoms in their patients.

"They will be informed how to obtain specialist advice should they consider this necessary." Other ways of raising awareness throughout all the health professions, including practice nurses, will also be explored.

The statement confirmed that OP sheep dips will be reviewed after the Health and Safety Executive has investigated farmers response to the certificate of competence scheme. Ministers will then consider whether any further action is needed.

&#8226 MPs have called for clarification of EU protective clothing rules after former farm minister William Waldegrave said OP sheep dip would have to be withdrawn if it could not be used safely.