25 August 1995

OP dip suicide link dismissed

ANY LINK between organophosphorus sheep dips and the high rate of suicide in the farming community has been dismissed by the government.

In an information bulletin, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, responsible for licensing drugs and monitoring their effects, said current evidence did not suggest that the use of OPs was a causative factor in suicides.

The bulletin referred to articles in farmers weekly (News, June 16) where a map from the Office of Population Census and Surveys showed the suicide rates of men between 1987 and 1992. Taunton-based psychiatrist Dr Robert Davis said the map supported the view that suicide was linked to OP sheep dips.

But the VMD insisted the map showed all suicides, not just those among farmers. Any link between OPs and suicides would have shown a geographical spread on the OPCS map. &#42