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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 12:58 GMT
Sheep dip linked to depression
Farmer dipping sheep
Farmers were encouraged to report their symptoms
A report into the effects of sheep dips has concluded that organophosphate chemicals are "probably" linked to headaches and depression.

Professor Graham Dunn, from the University of Manchester's School of Epidemiology and Health Sciences, carried out the study which looked at the evidence of more than 600 people.

The report's findings have been considered by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affair's independent expert advisory group, the Veterinary Products Committee.

It said that the study does not justify a ban on the chemicals but the results also underline the need for further research.


It has always been widely accepted that some people are susceptible to sheep dips

Ian Johnson NFU

"The more farmers use sheep dips, the more likely they were to report depression and other problems," said Professor Dunn.

"And the longer they had used the dips, the more they likely they were to have problems."

For more than a decade farmers and farm workers across the south west have been claiming that organophosphate chemicals are responsible for a range of health problems.

And many of them were encouraged to report their symptoms to the government monitoring programme which formed the basis of the new report.

National centre

Ian Johnson, regional spokesman for the National Farmers' Union, said he was not surprised by report's conclusions.

"It has always been widely accepted that some people are susceptible to sheep dips," he said.

"While some people can happily use it and are fine, others are susceptible."

He also called for a specialist centre to be set up to help farmers in the region who may have been poisoned.

"We need a national centre for research, a central body for expertise in this area, so all the data can be brought together," he said.


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28 May 02 | Scotland
01 Mar 02 | Health
01 Mar 02 | Health
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