6 September 2002

Campaign linking OPs with BSE brushed aside

A LANCASHIRE farmer who has maintained a relentless campaign over 10 years against the use of organophosphorous compounds, claims new evidence linking OPs with BSE is being ignored.

Brenda Sutcliffe, who farms at Littleborough, believes there is "categorical scientific evidence" linking the use of the OP compound crufomate – a constituent of warble-fly treatment for cattle – and BSE.

Mrs Sutcliffe – who presented evidence to the BSE inquiry – says she has recently unearthed new facts concerning the chemical crufomate which she believes is "the root cause of BSE".

"I have found information issued in the USA by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services which lists crufomate as a hazardous substance.

"It states that repeated use can cause personality changes and that high and repeated exposure can damage the nerves. The information says that exposure to crufomate can cause rapid, fatal poisoning, headaches, sweating, vomiting, twitching, loss of co-ordination and even death – and this is the stuff we were pouring onto the backs of cows to kill warble-flies.

"We have got to get this substance banned and there has to be a new investigation into its links with BSE. Those who refuse to acknowledge the significance of this data and doggedly follow the ruminant feed theory should remember that there has never been a case of horizontal transmission of BSE. That is one of the most significant facts which is constantly overlooked."

No new facts

Crufomate was used in warble-fly treatments in the 1960s and 1970s in products marketed by Dow AgroSciences. Mrs Sutcliffe has been in correspondence with the company but claims she has been told that the result of her latest research provides "no new facts".

In a letter Dow AgroSciences said: "In weighing up all the evidence available we see no reason to doubt the Philips inquiry conclusion that BSE developed into an epidemic as a consequence of the recycling of animal protein in ruminant feed."

It continued to say the company has no records relating to the use of crufomate during the 1960s and 1970s.

Over 10 years ago all three members of the Sutcliffe family began to suffer symptoms they believed were caused by using OP-based sheep dip.

In 1992 the Sutcliffe family were blood tested by toxicologists at Guys Hospital in London. The results showed all three had extremely low blood levels of the enzyme cholinesterase.

Cholinesterase is an enzyme needed to facilitate the transmission of messages to and from the brain and plays a vital role in sustaining the nervous system.

"Our symptoms were very similar to those seen in cattle suffering from BSE; basically we were going out of our heads and off our legs," said Mrs Sutcliffe. &#42

Convinced… Brenda Sutcliffe believes she and her family have been poisoned by an OP compound which could also cause BSE.