1 December 1995

OP link to dysfunctions

MEDICAL tests show organo-phosphorus chemicals used in sheep dips can cause brain, muscle and immune system damage.

Prof Peter Behan, consultant neurologist, Glasgow, told a British Society for Allergy and Environmental Medicine meeting in London, that more than 60 farmers, who had all been exposed to OPs, found clinical signs of an illness called chronic fatigue syndrome.

They were ill for years and were totally unable to work, said Prof Behan. Two in particular had "a hell of a dose of OPs" and both developed a tumour – non-Hodgkinsons lymphoma.

Early research had shown that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, including those with chronic OP poisoning, have chemical abnormalities in their muscle. Other tests showed impaired immune function, caused by abnormalities in certain cells designed to fight virus infections.

The farmers also had "grossly abnormal cell function" and a few had "an immunological reaction going on in the brain", said Prof Behan.

Tests showed some had abnormal liver enzymes suggesting that their liver, as well as muscle, brain and immunological system, was involved. &#42