23 February 1996

Dont lie low on OP cases

MAFF is to embark on a drive to encourage farmers to report cases of poisoning attributed to organophosphorus sheep dips.

Junior farm minister Angela Browning said MAFF would be writing to the NFU, Country Landowners Association and Tenant Farmers Association to ask them to press members to return adverse reaction report forms. It would also highlight its telephone help-line offering guidance on completing the forms.

MAFF received only 40 forms from farmers last year. Mrs Browning is to meet Department of Health officials to stress the need for doctors to be more aware of chemical-related illnesses.

"What frustrates the sufferers most is not having their problem recognised for what it is," she said.

Although there was no definitive, scientific proof of a link between OP use and ill-health, Mrs Browning said there was growing anecdotal evidence. &#42