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Pesticide Information for the Royal Commission On Pollution Buffer Zones Notification of Use The Right to Know How Safe is the Science?

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Presentation on theme: "Pesticide Information for the Royal Commission On Pollution Buffer Zones Notification of Use The Right to Know How Safe is the Science?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Pesticide Information for the Royal Commission On Pollution Buffer Zones Notification of Use The Right to Know How Safe is the Science?

2 Decisions Made By DEFRA No Science to support Buffer Zones A “Trial Area” only for Notification Third Parties to Control Access to Information about the Pesticides Used

3 Was DEFRA Correct? What is regarded as scientific evidence? Are adverse health effects known? Do the monitoring systems work? Is evidence being ignored?

4 Scientific Evidence Includes Recognised symptoms of pesticide exposure Recognised properties of pesticides Recognised routes of exposure Peer reviewed reports of drift effects Officially recognised incident confirmation Incidents of linked illness reported to the authorities but not officially recognised Medical records of induced symptoms Known risks to vulnerable individuals

5 Pesticide Induced Symptoms Restricted breath/asthma Digestive upsets/diarrhoea Heart rate irregularity Sweating/skin lesions Running nose/eyes/saliva Sore throat/voice loss Headaches/anxiety Joint/bone disorders Diabetes/hypoglycaemia Muscle pain/tremors Memory loss Visual disturbance Chemical sensitivity Cognitive defects Neurological diseases Foetal abnormalities Cancers Hormone disruption

6 Pesticides Include Arsenicals Carbamates Organochlorines Organophosphates Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids Genetically Modified toxins Acids, such as Sulphuric Acid Hormone disrupters Co-formulants which increase toxicity

7 Routes Of Exposure Direct contact with pesticide or packaging Exposure to spray drift Exposure to volatile pesticide vapour releases Contact with sprayed crop or contaminated areas Inhalation of contaminated air Drinking contaminated water Eating contaminated food Tracking into the home via pets or humans Contaminated clothing or footwear

8 Bioaccumulation is Dangerous Bioaccumulation results from the use of pesticides which are lipophilic and which persist in the environment for a long time Many pesticides in common use are both lipophilic and persistent - including many organochlorines and organophosphates Spray drift contaminates surrounding areas and non-target species, including man

9 Persistent Pesticides Bio accumulate Present risk of long-term exposure Enter the food chain Concentrate in higher animals and man Are difficult to remove from the environment and from the human body. Can induce long-term health effects

10 Each Type of Pesticide Acts on Different Functions in the Body Arsenicals Blood vessel damage Enzyme inhibitors Organophosphates Nervous system toxins Peripheral neuropathy Enzyme disruptors Damage DNA/RNA Limit oxygen transport Organochlorines Nervous system toxins Block GABA channels Hormone disruptors Pyrethrins Nervous system toxins Sensitisation

11 Other Pesticide Actions Pyrethroids Type I Nervous system toxins Pyrethroids Type II Cause paresthesias Block sodium channel Inhibit GABA Chlorphenoxy Compounds Nervous system toxins Peripheral neuropathy Metabolic poisons Skin and mucous membrane irritants

12 More Pesticide Actions Carbamates Nervous system toxins Similar in action to organophosphates but the action is reversible Triazines Mucous membranes Endocrine system Dipyridyls -paraquat Corrosive Membrane poisons No antidote Phthalimides Nervous system toxins Glucose metabolism

13 Actions of Co-Formulants Can increase toxicity of active ingredients Can be extremely toxic in their own right Can be volatile with toxic vapours Can cause cancer e.g. benzene & leukaemia Can have insecticidal properties Can protect the active ingredient Can prolong activity of the formulation Can trigger chemical sensitivity reactions

14 Multiple Exposures Are Dangerous Each poison targets different enzymes Each poison adds to cumulative damage Repeated exposures can cause permanent changes and long-term effects When suffering from the effects of a pesticide further exposures to that or any other should be avoided until recovery is complete Mixtures of pesticides are frequently used Pesticide/medicine combinations can be deadly

15 Symptoms can be Non-Specific Such as Flu-like symptoms including dizziness, malaise, coughs, sore throat, headaches Rashes or reddened skin, sweating Gastrointestinal symptoms, nausea, vomiting Blurred vision, seizures or strokes Heart rate abnormalities Effects of odours - which are not necessarily the toxicological effects of the active ingredient alone

16 Pesticide Symptoms can Mimic Those of Other Illnesses Asthma Influenza Heart Attack Brain haemorrhage Diabetes Gastroenteritis Pneumonia Viral infection Meningitis Bronchitis Epilepsy Alcoholism Parkinson’s Disease Multiple Sclerosis Alzheimer’s Disease Heat Stroke

17 Contraindicated Treatments Theophylline / Aminophylline for asthma Certain antibiotics Antidepressants Anaesthetics Painkillers such as morphine A host of others too numerous to mention which act on the same biological pathways

18 Poisoning Recognised Officially Numerous PIAP reports in UK alone have confirmed poisoning from single episodes of exposure to spray drift Thousands of poisoning cases are recognised annually around the world The adverse effects of drift are well known

19 Unrecognised Poisoning Cases In the UK there is a reluctance to recognise any pesticide poisoning cases That is made worse by the unknown causes of many serious illnesses such as cancer, ME, asthma or Parkinson’s Disease Even direct poisoning cases are hidden as seen in the Sheep Dip and OP litigation

20 Inadequate Medical Care The graph below indicates the lack of available medical treatment in the UK (deaths – treatment) Source USA (2002) –

21 A Village in the UK where Pesticides are used Intensively

22 Known Illnesses in Past or Current Residents in that Area

23 Confirmed Illnesses to Date in the Village of Thorley include Cancers M.E. Neurological problems (4 died) Serious heart problems Asthma Joint/bone problems 39 of which 27 died 9 cases (6 left village) 9 cases 2 confirmed as pesticide poisoning 13 of which 10 died Numerous cases Numerous cases often in ex-farm workers

24 Evidence of Harmful Effects Studies show adverse effects in children Effects in pesticide applicators Studies of pesticide use and effects in schools and hospitals Tracking of pesticides into homes Persistence of pesticides after application Evidence in law of recognised long-term effects from repeated low-dose exposures

25 Medical Records The correct tests are often not offered Availability of testing is often denied Test results are often hidden or falsified Supporting medical opinion is ignored Medical records are withheld Lack of that information is then used to claim there is no risk from pesticides

26 Risks to Vulnerable People Foetal exposures – developmental changes Children - susceptible to low exposures Those already poisoned, or on medication Patients with cancer, MS, Parkinson’s etc. Elderly patients Anyone with infection, M.E. or asthma Those with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

27 Children are at Greatest Risk Immune systems are still forming Greater exposure relative to weight Hand to mouth contact more frequent Often crawling or playing in treated areas Unaware of any risk Unaware of appropriate precautions Vulnerable and need greater protection

28 Reasons for Notification To allow the vulnerable to be protected To allow those who can to move away To ensure that children are indoors To reduce post-application exposures by physical contact with sprayed areas To ensure no contamination of washing To allow time to seal homes if necessary

29 Reasons for Right to Direct Pesticide Information Access Some treatments are ineffective after 24 hrs Third party involvement increases costs Less likelihood of error Information required for correct diagnosis Diagnosis required for safe treatment Less Secrecy = Greater Trust Greater trust improves rural relationships

30 Dangers of Using a Third Party Delay in obtaining information Additional costs Increased likelihood of error Need to persuade Third Party to act Uncertain knowledge of subject Regular updates required Information easily overtaken by events Additional Data Protection problems

31 Is the DEFRA Science Flawed? Pesticides are more persistent than claimed Exposures are more prolonged than claimed Exposures are rarely to a single chemical Accurate exposure measurement impossible Induced effects are easily missed Records are dangerously inaccurate Powerful vested interests are involved

32 Current Legislation Demands protection of human health Requires pre-marketing pesticide approval Requires control of pesticide use Protects non-target organisms – people? Demands that least toxic methods are used Requires pesticide records to be kept But regulations are rarely enforced Without enforcement there are no laws

33 Conclusions Buffer Zones are essential to protect health Pesticide testing is inadequate Advance notification for the vulnerable and direct access to detailed information about the pesticides used is essential DEFRA has failed to protect the public or the environment from dangerous toxins The National Health Service has failed to protect individuals poisoned by pesticides

34 The Way Forward The Government must remove from positions of influence all those who have provided false information Testing and treatment centres should be established in all areas as part of a health improvement programme All pesticides must be properly tested by independent laboratories before approval An Independent Inquiry into the entire issue Prosecute Officials who have acted unlawfully

35 Towards Public Protection Every means available should be enacted to protect children and vulnerable groups All pesticide laws, regulations, and recommendations should be legally binding on those who use pesticides Enforcement of those regulations is the key to a more healthy population and a cleaner environment for us all

36 Questions for DEFRA Where is your independent science? Why do you ignore contrary evidence? Do you understand the human metabolism? Will you stop providing false or unreliable information to Ministers and the public? Will you ever put the safety of public health before the interests of industry?

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