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Friday, 1 March, 2002, 01:57 GMT
'Sheep dip made me ill'
dip
Sheep dip uses strong organophosphate chemicals
Farmer Jim Candy has suffered two decades of ill-health - and he blames exposure to chemicals in sheep dips.

Now he is heartened by the results of research which suggest that differences in genetic make-up may make some people more susceptible to falling ill from sheep dip.

Jim took part in the Manchester University research himself - and was found to have one of the genetic differences the scientists were hunting.

Jim still manages to farm 110 acres of sheep and beef grazing near Trevieve in Cornwall.

However, he suffers bouts of extreme tiredness, nausea, trembling and is starting to get pains in his lower legs.


I know one man who has to take his wife with him in the car when he goes out - so that if he forgets where he is, she can get him home

He told BBC News Online: "I'm determined not to let it beat me - and one of the ways I'm doing that is by campaigning on this issue."

Jim is not one of the worst affected, he says, naming other farmers he knows who have been left even more severely disabled, again after using sheep dips.

"I know one man who has to take his wife with him in the car when he goes out - so that if he forgets where he is, she can get him home."

Exposed to risk

Like many farmers, Jim did not wear much protective clothing when using the dip.

"I just wore wellies and rubber gloves.

"Obviously, you'd try to keep clear of the undiluted mixture, and wash it off immediately, but the gloves could get holes in them and you could feel the diluted dip swilling around inside them."


I started to feel lethargic - I used to come in after doing a couple of hours of work and fall asleep

He started to get symptoms six years after starting to use the dips.

"I started to feel lethargic - I used to come in after doing a couple of hours of work and fall asleep.

"I went to see my doctor but he couldn't find anything, even though I kept going back."

Taking a risk

As more symptoms appeared, he became more depressed.

"My faith is the only thing that's keeping me going through this."

And he is fearful that any further contact with the chemicals will send him into a further decline.

"When I go around to one friend's house in the summer, I ask whether his wife has been using the flyspray - if she has, I stay outside.

"It could be the end of me otherwise."

See also:

01 Mar 02 | Health
Research backs sheep dip claims
24 Apr 00 | Scotland
Sheep dip 'poisoning' plea
23 May 00 | Wales
Calls to lift sheep dip ban
01 Sep 00 | Scotland
Inquiry into sheep dip 'sickness'
02 Dec 01 | England
Pesticides mix 'threatens health'
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