MSP Angus MacDonald Backs Westminster Calls for Independent Enquiry Into Organophosphates
Sunday, 04 January 2015 20:15
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has backed calls in the Westminster Parliament for full disclosure of any documents that could shed light on how hundreds of farmers and crofters in Scotland, and throughout the UK, became poisoned by organophosphate (OP) products in the 1980’s and 90’s.
Angus MacDonald MSP, who is a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee, further backs an independent enquiry into the events that led to many farmers and crofters suffering long-term ill health effects.
The Falkirk East MSP, who himself was exposed to OPs throughout the 1980’s on the family farms outside Stornoway, has said that there are numerous examples of farmers and crofters becoming ill, particularly in the 80’s and early 1990’s when it was compulsory by law to treat sheep with OPs.
Over that period those involved in the agricultural and horticultural industries who have been effected by OPs, have become increasingly frustrated at the lack of recognition within the medical profession over the link between their ill health and their exposure to OPs.
Campaigners also claim that they have been ignored by the UK Government and the agri-chemical industry.
There are also further claims that the then UK Government’s MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) department advised their inspectors not to go within 14 feet of sheep dips believing it to be one of the main contributors to OP poisoning.
Angus MacDonald MSP said “There is no doubt the victims of OP poisoning deserve answers. Sadly the UK Government refuses to formally acknowledge the link between over exposure to OPs and ill health, despite the fact that medically it has been accepted for some time that over exposure to OPs can cause rapid onset of illness, including long term effects on brain function.”
“There are many people who have worked in the agricultural and horticultural industries whose lives have been changed with ill-health, possibly through their use of OPs, and they deserve answers. Both the medical profession and the UK Government must be made aware of these concerns.”
“The UK Government must commission an independent enquiry in the near future to look at who knew what and when over the past three decades, including full disclosure of any documents that could shed light on how hundreds of farmers and crofters have suffered over the years.”
Mr MacDonald has written to the Secretary of State for Agriculture at Westminster requesting immediate action on this matter and will be seeking a meeting with the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment early in the new year to highlight his concerns.