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Organophosphates: Sheep Dipping

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the Zuckerman report, with particular reference to its analysis of the potential links between organophosphate sheep dips and long-term health problems. (244153)

The Zuckerman Report, released in 1951, pointed out the high acute toxicity of some organophosphates. This has long been recognised. There are vastly different potencies of compounds that have been used as pesticides, with less potent compounds replacing the early organophosphates. During the two decades after the release of the Zuckerman report, organophosphates with selective toxicity to insects and relatively low toxicity to mammals were developed and their use increased rapidly in the 1970s.

In 2007, the Government asked the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) for advice on the significance of Government-funded and other published research, which has investigated the link between the use of organophosphate sheep dips and chronic ill-health. The COT advice should be available in 2010.