Letter: Workers too afraid to join trade unions

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your report of the Stanton family's tragedy ("Did cockroach spray kill little Claire?" 5 September) highlights the problem of indoor use of pesticides. The London Hazards Centre is often contacted by people whose employers have sprayed or are proposing to spray pesticides with the staff still at their desks, and we hope our advice has sometimes helped prevent similar suffering.

We believe the remedial pesticide and wood preservative treatment industry must be properly regulated and that the UK pesticides approval system is inadequate and secretive.

It is illegal for employers to use possibly toxic chemicals without assessing their likely harmful effects and taking steps to protect employees. In the Centre's experience the best protection lies not in the under-funded Health and Safety Executive but in having an active trade union health and safety representative, since they can use their legal rights to information and consultation and enjoy some protection from victimisation over health and safety matters.


London Hazards Centre

London NW5