Government knew of poisioning risk that caused ill health to hundreds of farmers

24 Apr 2015 | Comment

The Guardian has revealed that the Government could have prevented the suffering of around 500 farmers across the UK who have been left with debilitating health problems following the use of poisonous chemicals, which they used to protect sheep, had they acted sooner to end its compulsory use.

Government HSE documents show that officials knew about the dangerous health risks associated with using organophosphate-based (OP) chemicals yet did not end its compulsory use until 1992. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) survey of farmers, released under a freedom of information request, said that: “Repeated absorption of small doses [can] have a cumulative effect and can result in progressive inhibition of nervous system cholinesterase.”

James Gibson, associate at Hugh James, comments “It is unacceptable to think that the risks were known by the Government years before the use of the chemical was banned and now hundreds of farmers are suffering because they failed to act. If you, or anyone you know, may have been affected then you need to come forward and seek legal advice from a specialist in workplace diseases. It is important you know that access to justice is available for people who have suffered in this way.”

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