Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Letter: Whitehall power behind the menace of organophosphates

Sir: The evidence is staring us in the face: organophosphates have in the last two years been associated with: Gulf war syndrome, mad cow disease (BSE), scrapie, and CJD.

The only other country in Europe that uses high doses of organophosphates for pest control of their cows is Switzerland, and they also have serious problems with BSE.

Organophosphates are very dangerous chemicals, related to mustard gas. They are termed "safe" for use on crops and animals because they break down "fast" in the environment. However a recent investigation by one of my students on his family farm has shown that much higher quantities of organophosphates enter surface and groundwaters than we thought before.

What I would like to know is whether we are more at risk of CJD from drinking water, eating carrots, eating bread, or eating beef? Am I poisoning my children when I present them with a "well balanced" dinner?


Lecturer in Environmental Geochemistry

University of Bristol