25 August 1998
OP poisoning may be maternally transmitted
By FWi staff
THE crippling side-effects of organophosphate pesticides (OPs) may be transmitted maternally – which prompts fears that thousands of children are at risk from OP poisoning.
A toxicology study involving Timothy Marrs, senior medical officer at the Department of Health and the Governments chief adviser on pesticides, has revealed that a female rat can pass on organophosphate residues to her babies.
The result of the study, reported in the Daily Express newspaper, has led to claims that OP poisoning can be passed between humans in the same way. It has also prompted renewed calls for a ban on the use of OPs as agricultural pesticides.
Dr Stuart Smith, head of pesticides at the Health and Safety Executive, will next month meet Liz Sigmund of the OP Information Network to discuss the findings of the study.
The OP Information Network has collected details of 640 farmers and family members who have reported instances of OP poisoning.
Ms Sigmunds campaign to have OPs banned is backed by a number of prominent medical specialists, scientists and MPs.