12 December 1997

Dip makers safety call

By Tony McDougal

SHEEP dip manufacturers should be responsible for safe disposal of spent dipwash to help stem the problems of river pollution, says campaign group Friends of the Earth.

The call for animal health firms to play a greater role in product stewardship received support from both the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive.

FoE wants to see the introduction of chemical leasing, where farmers pay a service charge to manufacturers for the use of the dip chemicals and the safe handling of spent dipwash.

And it wants to see a compulsory deposit and return system for sheep dip chemical packaging, which would encourage the re-use of durable containers.

The measures are part of a ten point plan sent to environment minister Michael Meacher by FoE to solve sheep dip pollution.

Pete Riley, FoE agricultural spokesman, said: "The real responsibility for disposing of these toxic chemicals should lie with the dip manufacturers who have encouraged farmers to use their products without providing them with the means to dispose of them safely."

Alan Spence, HSE agricultural coordinator, welcomed the deposit and return proposal for dip containers, saying trials with dip manufacturers were already taking place.

An Environment Agency spokesman welcomed the call for a greater role to be played by dip manufacturers.

But Roger Cook, National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) director, said dip manufacturers were already doing much to neutralise the effects of sheep dips through the use of lime and caustic soda. Companies were also giving advice on recommended disposal methods for neutralised dip, such as spreading on to unused pasture land.