EUROPA - Enterprise - Chemicals - Contribution to the Internet

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EUROPA - Enterprise - Chemicals - Contribution to the Internet Powered By Docstoc
					8/7/03

Dear Mrs. Hellsten and Mr. Reinhard Sculte-Braucks,

RE: Consultation on Draft Chemicals Legislation (the REACH System)

I would like to submit some comments in relation to this Consultation. However, some of
my supporting information and documentation cannot be sent electronically, therefore I
have sent them by post. The package is guaranteed to reach you by Thursday 10th July
2003.

Also, as I only have a very short time now to get these comments in, then I have collated
information from previous submissions that have direct relevance to the issues in this
Consultation (although I have not had the opportunity to relate it to specific sections
within the Consultation Document).

As you may already be aware, I met with the DEFRA Ministers Lord Whitty (Minister
for Food and Farming) and Michael Meacher (Former Minister for Environment) in
December 2002 to present the case for a change in the regulations and legislation
governing agricultural spraying. Immediate action is required from both the British
Government and the European Union, as public health is not being protected from the
high level of risk inherent in the spraying of over 25,000 tonnes of agricultural chemicals
on British farmland every year.

I was informed at the time that I had presented a powerful case, very effectively and that
the Ministers would look at all this evidence and take appropriate action.

It was approximately two years ago that I started my investigations into the history of
crop-spraying. I very quickly discovered serious fundamental flaws in the regulations
governing the approval and use of pesticides.

The official method of assessing the dangers and risks to public health from agricultural
spraying and under which chemical usage is approved, is based on the model of a
"bystander" with the assumption being that there will only be the occasional short-term
exposure, of no more than 5 minutes. This model is dangerously inadequate and bears no
resemblance whatsoever to the sort of exposure scenario experienced by people who are
actually living in these sprayed areas, 24 hours a day, every day. This means that there is
not and never has been, an appropriate or realistic assessment of the risks to public health
in either the UK or Europe for people who actually live near heavily sprayed fields - and
yet crop-spraying has been a predominant feature of agriculture for over 50 years.
This issue has acquired considerable media coverage in the UK over the last 3 months.
It has now been 6 months since I presented the evidence to Ministers and a year since I
was invited to make a presentation to the Advisory Committee on pesticides. (Paper and
transcripts available at: www.pesticides.gov.uk). This led to the recent admission by
DEFRA's Pesticides Safety Directorate in the UK that "Direct measurements of long-
term bystander exposure, for example for a bystander living adjacent to a treated area,
have not been made in the UK." - I have since found out that this also applies in Europe.
Also, the Health and Safety Executive in the UK have recently admitted that it has
absolutely no idea how many people in the countryside are actually suffering from ill-
health that's related to pesticides. (Farming Today This Week - 3/5/03 - tape sent by post)
The principle aim of pesticide regulation is supposed to be the protection of public health,
therefore this has to be the number one priority and take precedence over any financial,
economic or other considerations.

The only responsible course of action for the EU and the UK Government to take is:
    A ban on crop-spraying and the use of pesticides near to homes, schools,
      workplaces and any other places of human habitation. The land that is not sprayed
      could still be farmed using sustainable non-chemical management practices - NB.
      Studies have shown pesticides located 1.5 - 3 miles away from a treated area and
      therefore a small buffer zone is not going to be adequate or in any way acceptable
      to protect people from the high level of risk inherent in the spraying of
      agricultural chemicals
    Introduce a new legal obligation to warn people in advance that spraying is to take
      place and to provide the necessary chemical information - (As at present a farmer
      can refuse to disclose the information on what chemicals he is using, even if
      adverse health effects have been suffered by a member of the public and the
      chemical information has been requested by the Medical Advisors as essential for
      the proper assessment of their patient's health effects) - NB. In California
      pesticide users are legally bound to register what they are using and how much
      and that is then publicly available information

The EU and UK Government and their advisors must recognise the effects that pesticides
have on human health, as prevention of pesticide poisoning is the only way to protect
people from pesticide related ill-health. The human rights aspect of this issue is extremely
important as everyone has a recognised right to protect their health and the health of their
family from any risks to their health and safety.

I have sent the following by post for your reference:-
     The Observer on Sunday article - April 13th 2003, as well as the piece I wrote for
        the Observer website entitled "Can we have a breath of fresh air?" - NB. Both
        these articles are still available as 3 sections under the heading of crop-spraying
        at:- http://politics.guardian.co.uk/green/0,9054,442883,00.html
     Farming Today - Radio 4 - 25/3/03 and 3/5/03 - on cassette tape
     The Food Police programme - BBC1 March 26th 2003 - on video tape
     The paper I presented to the Advisory Committee on Pesticides - July 10th 2002
        entitled "Why the bystander risk assessment does not equate to real-life exposure
        scenarios"
     The video of spraying evidence entitled "Pesticide Exposures for People in
        Agricultural Areas" - Length approx. 8 minutes - also on video tape
     Submission to the Advisory Committee on Pesticides in the UK for their Meeting
        on July 10th 2003
     Sections taken from various safety data sheets
Please also find the 2 Submissions to the UK's Advisory Committee on Pesticides dated
July 10th 2002 and July 10th 2003 attached electronically below as well, along with a
paper I submitted for the ACP meeting on February 27th 2003. This submission was in
response to a paper presented to the ACP by the UK's Pesticides Safety Directorate on
January 16th 2003 entitled "Bystander Exposure Assessment."

Finally, I have attached a 3 page overview on this issue entitled "Pesticide Exposures for
people living in agricultural areas and the "bystander risk assessment" - European
Policy and UK Policy."

Although all the submitted documentation is mainly related to agricultural chemicals,
many of the issues and points highlighted are relevant to all other hazardous and man-
made chemicals that are manufactured and used in society.

I apologise for not referring to specific sections of the Consultation Documentation
purely due to lack of time, but I think that the attached information and other
documentation etc. sent by post covers all the points I would like to highlight to the
Commission.

In Summary these include:-
     Acute and chronic adverse health effects as a direct result of chemical exposure
     Recognition and acknowledgement of relevant exposure scenarios in exposure
      assessments, as the current system relies on inappropriate and unrealistic risk
      assessments
     Unacceptable and unnecessary risks and immediate action required in relation to
      pesticides/agricultural spraying, as the number one priority in pesticide regulation
      is supposed to be the protection of public health. On the Consultation website it
      states: "Finally we will also provide for restriction of certain substances in order
      to have a safety net in the system. This will give the possibility to introduce
      restrictions at EU level on any substance, or on the manufacture, marketing or
      particular uses of substances that pose unacceptable risks."
     Right for people to know - legal obligation for manufacturers and users and any
      others to provide the necessary chemical information to the public - Two sections
      I noted in relation to this on the Consultation website state: "REACH will also be
      transparent and open so everybody who uses chemicals in one way or the other
      has access to important information" - This has to apply to members of the public
      and not just the chemical users and "All in all, by generating and making
      available information on chemicals REACH will produce a win-win situation for
      everybody" - Following on from the previous point, only if the transparency is
      inclusive to members of the public and not just manufacturers/operators/workers,
      other users and the relevant authorities
     Multiple Chemical Sensitivity as a direct result of chemical exposure
     Real-life cases of pesticide poisoning and related ill-health need to be studied in
      order to assist in the risk assessment process for the potential toxicity in humans,
      based on clear exposure history/chemicals involved and health effects etc.
      There needs to be more information and training for GP's and other medical
       professionals regarding the diagnosis and treatment of chemical poisoning
      The application of the Precautionary Principle in Chemical Policy
      The Human Rights aspect and implications of chemical exposure
      The move away from chemical dependency can only be encouraged and
       authorised by the EU and the UK Central Government
      The EU and Member States must promote the use/development and
       implementation of non-chemical alternatives (as there are non-toxic alternatives
       for almost anything)

Protecting public health and preventing damage/harm from occurring in the first place is
surely a more desired approach than trying to solve a problem when it has already
occurred, as the consequences for human health or wildlife/environment are difficult to
reverse. This is especially evident in relation to the effects on human health, as in most
cases it is not possible to reverse the damage caused by chemicals to people.
Therefore it is clearly not adequate to only assess the risks to public health or to wildlife
and the wider environment, of each individual chemical or groups of individual
chemicals. What must be taken into account is the impact from the accumulation of all
the chemicals that people are subjected to, every day, from a variety of different sources
in chemical mixtures and the effects on public health.

I would be most grateful if the 2 sections of my submission (ie. all the contents of the
package that I have sent along with all that I have submitted here) could be kept together.
Please note that the comments that I have made in this email should be taken as the
main cover letter instead of the letter that accompanies the package.

Please can someone let me know that this email and the 3 attachments have been received
okay?

Thank you very much.
Please see attachments below.

Kind regards,
Georgina Downs.
Why the “bystander risk assessment” does not equate to real-life exposure
scenarios:- from Georgina Downs.
ACP Open Meeting- July 10th 2002.

Objective.

The objective of this personal paper, written from direct experience, is to highlight how
certain sources of exposure to pesticides have not been considered within the current
registration process.

Executive Summary.

   Pesticides are poisonous chemicals

   Exposure to pesticides is extremely hazardous and covered by layers of regulation
    that are primarily aimed at protecting operators/agricultural workers

   The risk assessments carried out before pesticides are approved, take no account of
    the long-term effects from the high level, repeated exposures to mixtures of pesticides
    and other hazardous chemicals that people receive, whilst unprotected, when they live
    in an agricultural area

   The danger does not only come from immediate visible spraydrift, as particles remain
    in the atmosphere for sometime after spraying has been applied, which are not
    necessarily seen

   The current standards do not allow for this type of exposure scenario

   The routes of exposure will include oral, dermal and inhalation and vulnerable groups
    include babies, children, pregnant women, the elderly, those with pre-existing
    medical problems/body burdens and chemical sensitivity

   The scientific assessment of the toxicity of pesticides is flawed and based on creating
    visible symptoms in laboratory animals, which is unlikely to detect some of the more
    common adverse health effects experienced by people suffering pesticide related ill-
    health

   When people do suffer ill-health effects following pesticide exposures, they obtain
    little support from authorities or the legal system, whose purpose it is to protect them,
    because of the failure to recognise the dangers/risks at the approval level

   The current registration system/authorised use of pesticides is posing unacceptable
    risks to human health for those living in agricultural areas and is a breach of Articles
    2, 5, 8 and Part 2, The First Protocol-Article 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and
   Articles 2, 6, 7, 17 and 37 of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European
   Union (ref 1)


Brief History.

Within conventional farming there is a heavy reliance on agricultural chemicals for mass
production. Apart from the damaging effects on the environment, wildlife and the soil,
the true cost of this chemical dependency has often been overlooked.
Pesticides have been in use for over 50 years and throughout their history, there has been
regular documented scientific and medical evidence, in relation to their damaging effects
on human health.
Pesticides by their very nature, are designed to kill living organisms, therefore it is not
surprising that these chemicals are highly poisonous substances.
In 1951, the Chief Government Chemist at the time, Lord Zuckerman, recommended in
relation to organophosphate pesticides, that the containers should be clearly worded
“Deadly Poison” and in an early study by J.H. Holmes and M.D. Gaon entitled
“Observations on Acute and Multiple Exposures to Anticholinesterase Agents,” they
described OP insecticides as “being among the most potent chemicals known to man”.
There were around 25,000 tonnes of pesticides applied to UK crops in the year 2000 (Soil
Association).
There are over 20,000 pesticide formulations in use today and the numbers are increasing
all the time.
Therefore, while the constant, long drawn out, scientific disagreement and debate
continues among scientists, concerning pesticides and health effects, people are being
exposed and poisoned by these chemicals, in mixtures, from a variety of exposure
sources.


Pesticide exposures for those living in agricultural areas.

“If you live next door to someone who is an arable or a fruit farmer, you are going to be
subject to quite a lot of spraydrift. Those who live within the curtelage or adjoining the
curtelage of farms have a higher exposure than many other people. Bystanders,
neighbours are subject not only to exposure to mixtures, but sequential exposures and it
has been shown that possibly a third of the arable acreage sprayed, is sprayed by people
without proper training.”
Peter Beaumont- WIGRAMP open meeting, 28/2/02.

My family and I have been exposed to 18 years of mixtures of pesticides, which have
been sprayed throughout each year, in combinations on the surrounding farmland next to
our property.
(see Appendix 1 for details).

Even when pesticides are used in the approved way and with the proper application
methods, these chemicals do not stay confined within the target area and drift off all over
the place, even when it is not windy and the operator is abiding by all the Codes of
Practice.

Spraydrift- visible/invisible.
The main point to highlight here is that exposure does not only come from immediate
visible spraydrift (which incidentally is not a very realistic way to address the risks
associated with crop-spraying).
The far wider issue here is that once pesticides have been dispersed, these chemicals persist as airborne droplets/particles, which drift
around and remain in the air for sometime after spraying has been applied, but which are not necessarily seen. When people in the
sprayed area then breathe in the chemical fumes, they will be inhaling these particles, where the largest particles tend to stay on the
surface of the throat and nasal passages and smaller particles can be inhaled directly into the lungs. Even inhalation of dilute pesticides
can result in poisoning. Once they are absorbed through the surfaces of the lungs, chemicals enter the blood stream and are distributed
to the rest of the body. (2)

There are obviously other forms of drift, the most important being vapour drift, where the
chemicals which have been applied may volatilise in warm/hot weather and drift away
from the target area.

In the “Safe Use of Poisonous Chemicals on the Farm,” by MAFF in 1975, it states that:-
“the nearer someone is to the source from which a pesticide is being dispersed, whether
this is in the form of droplets, dust, granules, smoke or vapour, the greater the risk of his
absorbing poison”.
It also states that:- “the greatest hazard arises from inhaling the fine particles produced
by the spray and the vapour of the substance” and then says “avoid inhaling particles of
any pesticide.” (I speak for a lot of people when I say I wish that we could, but in our
situation, this is impossible!)
It goes on to say:- “Depending on the pesticides used, the danger may exist for many
weeks after spraying.”


Bystander Risk Assessment.

In ACP documentation it states:- “The scientific assessment of pesticides claims that no
one should develop any serious illness through the use of pesticides and no one should be
harmed or made ill by the presence of pesticide residues in food and drink.”
It also says:-“ The current registration system aims to ensure that no authorised use of
pesticides will pose unacceptable risks to human health, wildlife or the environment.”
It goes on to say:- “Inevitably however, a measure of uncertainty remains and science
can never give a cast-iron guarantee of zero-risk.”


Before pesticides are approved, various risk assessments are supposed to be carried out to
provide evidence that it will not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or to wildlife.
The only existing risk assessment for those other than occupational workers who are
exposed to pesticides from crop-spraying, is covered under “Exposure to Operators,
other Workers and Bystanders”.

In the mathematical model set out for bystander estimates, it presumes that exposure is
likely to be of short duration, is unlikely to be repeated and is likely to be of a lower level
than that affecting spray operators, considering the greater distance of a bystander from
the application equipment. It then goes on to calculate examples, that assumes exposure
to spraydrift for the duration of 1 minute, for inhalation exposure.

Unfortunately, this mathematical model is nothing like the real-life exposure scenarios
that people have been subjected to for decades, as people who live in agricultural areas
cannot be classified as bystanders, as this would imply that they are only in the vicinity
when pesticides are being applied (at the time of application). In reality, they could be
contaminated by three routes of entry (oral, dermal and inhalation) for 24 hours a day
from living in the sprayed area, where they would be exposed to mixtures of pesticides
and other hazardous chemicals, repeatedly, often day after day, (depending on the
number of fields within the area and the number of times the fields are sprayed)
throughout each year. Looking at this realistically, I think it is virtually impossible to
carry out a calculation for this type of exposure scenario, due to the factors already
mentioned (ie. invisible droplets/particles in the air, mixtures of pesticides, almost
constant exposures etc.)
(N.B. A similar situation obviously occurs for those who walk through fields everyday
which have just been sprayed, (with no warning signs to inform them of such)
cycling/riding horses or driving past with their windows down, all these people could also
be exposed through the inhalation of the airborne droplets/particles).
In ACP documentation it states:- “Once an exposure has been estimated it is compared
with the acceptable operator exposure level (although the term AOEL makes specific
reference to operators, it is usually also an appropriate comparator for other workers
and bystanders) or with the NOAEL’s from relevant toxicity studies.”
It then goes on to say:- “Sometimes, acceptable operator exposure can only be achieved
through the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves, coveralls and face-
masks.”

So therefore, if an operator’s safety can be assisted in the form of personal protective
equipment, where does that leave those exposed without any protection or precautions
taken?

Those who live in agricultural areas may:-

- not have received any warnings of the intended pesticide applications and therefore
would not have been able to take any of the necessary precautions to protect themselves
(ie. remaining inside/closing windows/bringing washing indoors etc).

- not have any knowledge of the health effects to look out for following unbeknown
exposure to a formulation, (eg. suffering ill-effects following the pesticide application,
but perhaps being unaware they were exposed and therefore there would be no reporting
of the incident or correlation of the information, to a doctor and the HSE, of any acute or
long-term chronic health problems experienced) (see ref 3)

Therefore, these people are potentially of a higher risk than that of a farm worker who
could have been supplied with personal protective equipment and who hopefully has
knowledge of the chemicals being used, the safety precautions to take and what
symptoms and health problems to look out for following the pesticide use.

Taking all this into account, members of the public can be exposed effectively equivalent
to and in many instances to a much greater degree than that of an occupational worker,
and yet there is not and never has been an adequate risk assessment whatsoever for
people exposed in this way. This is a major source of both acute and chronic long-term
exposures to people, as there is such a vast area of arable farmland sprayed throughout
this country, with people living all around these fields, who are not supplied with and
should not have to be supplied with personal protective equipment on their own property.
Also, according to HSE, there are no parameters set out for how close a field can be next
to a property, so houses with windows wide open, can have tractors spraying right up to
these open windows!
Therefore, the current registration system/authorised use of pesticides is posing
unacceptable risks to human health. This is a serious public health hazard, which
requires immediate action by the Government and other depts.
(ACP/HSE/DEFRA/PSD etc.) to stop the spraying of pesticides around
houses/properties etc. as there is no way to prevent the poisoning of people if crop-
spraying is allowed to continue in this way.


A general view of the Scientific Assessment of Pesticides.

The scientific safety of pesticides has for so long been based on a fundamentally flawed
risk assessment process, which at last now seems to be recognised and accepted as such.
As up until now, pesticides have only been assessed on an individual chemical basis,
which has not taken into account exposures to mixtures of pesticides and other chemicals,
from all possible sources of exposure (as referred to by the WIGRAMP Committee).
Also, the “No Observed Adverse Effect Level” (NOAEL’s) established from toxicity
studies in animals, tests which are usually carried out on rats. Now obviously, with some
effects of pesticides, like cancer formation, death, severe organ damage and the
neurotoxic effects of paralysis, tremors and muscle wastage, then these problems will be
noticed significantly in animal studies. However, the more subtle alterations in
neurological function are unlikely to be detected, as it is not possible for a rat to say it is
experiencing symptoms like pains in the legs, tingling sensations, giddiness, headaches or
generally feeling ill. These neurotoxic effects are of course common symptoms
experienced by people suffering pesticide related ill-health (especially when exposure
history is related to organophosphate pesticides).
Also, symptoms like burning eyes, nose and throat, which can follow acute exposures to
pesticides, will also be difficult to assess.
In the book “Gassed,” by Rob Evans (2000) it states that:- “Animal experiments can give
little quantitative information on damage caused by chemicals.”
Therefore, animal studies of this nature are not accurate or conclusive and yet this is the
whole basis for the safety levels of chemicals.

Enforcement of Existing Regulations.
Operators
Farmers who use approved pesticides in accordance with the approval, will have taken
their instruction from the product label (although there may be those who do not read the
label at all).
If there is nothing written under the Statutory Conditions of Use to indicate that it is
hazardous to those within the surrounding area/ the need to notify neighbours/or any
restrictions for use, then is it possible that the farmer may give less importance to the
COSHH Risk Assessment or to his duties under the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act
(1974), (regarding risks to others in the area) if the hazards have not been identified at the
highest level, that of the approval?

HSE
Following on from the previous point, if pesticides are used in accordance with the
approval, does that work against the power and enforcement of the Health and Safety at
Work Etc. Act (1974) and other legislation?

For example, when people do report incidents of ill-health following crop-spraying to the
HSE, they are commonly told that they have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they
have been exposed to agricultural pesticides and suffered ill-health as a result, otherwise
HSE cannot take enforcement action. This seems absurd, as the HSE motto is “reducing
risks and protecting people,” which would equate to prevention of injury or effect, not
that health has to be compromised first, then you have to prove it is associated with
pesticide exposure, before anything can be done.
This is not a correct interpretation of the law.
The Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act (1974) clearly states that if someone releases
dangerous or noxious emissions into the atmosphere, then it has to be “without risk to
human health.” (4)
Obviously spraying poison all around the area where people live and breathe is definitely
not without risk to human health and yet if the pesticides have been used in accordance
with the approval, then they have been seen as “acceptably safe,” and so HSE state that if
there is no evidence of illegal use, then their hands are tied.
So, is the law not being enforced, or is it not actually enforceable?
Are HSE not always investigating and therefore not confirming incidents of poisoning
because there is no evidence of a breach of the approval? (3)

The HSE Inspectors response to this point is that the problems lie within the legislation
and policy set out in the approval of pesticides and therefore they cannot enforce a law
that is not in their legislative remit. This again illustrates how the system seems to be
failing from the flaws at the approval level in not recognising the exposure scenarios for
those living in agricultural areas.

N.B. As with the HSE, the ACP have a responsibility to protect the health of human
beings. (5)
Again, this is based on risk of harm and not that harm has to have already occurred.
Acceptable Risk.

It was stated at the WIGRAMP open meeting (28/2/02) that society designates
“acceptable risk” and that if society feels that the acceptable risk is not acceptable, then
what is considered acceptable is redefined and the risk assessed accordingly.

This may be what is supposed to happen, but in my opinion, it is scientists that are
deciding how millions of people are exposed to these chemicals, when they have openly
admitted they do not know about the long-term toxicity of pesticides/the full implications
of chemical mixtures on human health/it is impossible to test all mixtures/the lack of
information and data available regarding all sources of exposure/the overall uncertainty
and have not even considered certain exposure scenarios before pesticides are approved.
Yet Scientists continue to recommend pesticides are allowed to be used in this way. (7)
I personally do not believe that society would see this situation as acceptable. (6)


Conclusions.

   Despite the complexity, disagreement and continuous scientific debate, the nature of
    this issue is simple, pesticides are poison and that poison when dispersed near to
    houses/properties is putting human health at significant risk of injury, from both acute
    and chronic long-term effects from repeated exposures

   Mixtures of pesticides from multiple sources carries an increased risk of danger

   Government Advisors have recently acknowledged the lack of understanding and
    limited data available regarding exposures to mixtures of pesticides, from all possible
    sources and the effects on human health

   Vulnerable groups who are more susceptible to these toxic effects include babies,
    infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, those with pre-existing health
    problems/body burdens and especially those already sensitised to pesticide products
    or suffering MCS, where just a small amount of a pesticide is enough to cause a
    reaction and have a direct effect on the body (even before any potentiating or
    synergistic interaction of the chemical mixture)

   Manufacturers and Government are failing to warn people of these dangers and the
    current registration system has not even considered the high level of risk involved for
    certain exposure scenarios before making approvals

   The Government cannot rule out the link between crop-spraying and ill-health effects,
    especially for those who live in agricultural areas
   Taking all this into account, no one will ever be able to say conclusively that
    exposure to these chemicals in this way, does not cause health problems or is not a
    significant risk to human health




Recommendations.

I personally do not believe that pesticides should be dispersed into the air at all, let alone
around houses/properties. So, ideally, if pesticides are not used, then there will be no risk
of exposure to anyone. Therefore, the only way to solve this problem is through the
widespread adoption of sustainable non-chemical management practices.

The recommendations for immediate action are:-

1. A total ban on crop-spraying within certain areas is the only responsible course of
   action to take. (This would need to be of a considerable distance, as no one knows
   how far the particles travel and some studies have shown pesticide particles ending up
   miles away from where they were originally applied). (8)
   Therefore, a small buffer zone is not going to be adequate or in any way acceptable to
   protect those who live in agricultural areas from the high level of risk inherent with
   the spraying of poisonous chemicals.
   This would obviously have to be legally implemented.

    Suggestion:- In this situation could it then be possible for farmers who have to cease
    spraying agricultural chemicals, on fields where people are living around the area, to
    be funded by Government grants (ie. funds for organic conversion from DEFRA or
    grants for greener farming as referred to in the Policy Commission’s recent report) so
    they are not in any way disadvantaged and can continue farming using sustainable
    non-chemical management practices?

In the event that recommendation 1 is not immediate, then recommendations 2 and 3
should apply.

2. It has to be a legal obligation to notify residents as soon as possible and no later than
48 hours
    before any intended spraying application, instead of the existing good practice.
   This must also include full information of the chemicals that are to be used and
   include any which may have been applied prior to when notification began, where the
   residents may have had chronic exposures.

3. Considering houses undergo a whole host of structural surveys and assessments for
   all sorts of                problems, then it has to be a legal obligation to inform
   anyone who may purchase/rent a property in an agricultural area of the dangers to
   human health from the spraying of poisonous chemicals.
General Recommendations.

4.      There needs to be a review of how pesticides are approved and changes in
Government policy and
     legislation so that future pesticide regulations are based on the highest protection
level available.
    Therefore, the Government and their Advisors need to recognise and admit the effects
    pesticides have on human health, as prevention of pesticide poisoning remains the
    only way to protect people from pesticide related ill-health. This should be the No.1
    priority and take precedence over any economic considerations. The move away from
    chemical dependency can only be encouraged and authorised by Central Government.
    There needs to be more money injected into the use and further development of
    organic farming and other non-chemical means of pest control (as there are non-toxic
    alternatives for almost anything).

5.    Real-life cases of pesticide poisoning and related ill-health need to be studied in
order to assist in
    the risk assessment process for the potential toxicity in humans, based on clear
exposure
    history/chemicals involved and health effects etc.
    There needs to be more information and training for GP’s and other medical
professionals
    regarding the diagnosis and treatment of pesticide/chemical poisoning.

6.       “Until we have a more complete understanding of pesticide toxicity, the
Precautionary Principle is
     necessary because the data on risk to human health from exposure to pesticides is
incomplete.”
     (BMA)
     The Precautionary Principle needs to be adopted by scientific Advisory Committees
(ACP etc) (9)
    7. Cigarettes have clear advertising and warning signs to inform and highlight the
        health damage        that they can cause and it needs to be exactly the same with
        pesticides. This would mean clear labelling on the containers on how dangerous
        the chemicals are, which would then need publicity to create awareness to
        actually encourage people to read these labels, as well as informing others who
        may be exposed, to enable them to take any necessary precautions etc.
APPENDIX 1.
Pesticide exposures for those living in agricultural areas.
Case History.

Countless numbers of people are suffering this situation, here is our case as a typical
example.


History.

In the early 1980’s, my parents purchased a piece of land in the countryside, on which
they designed and built their dream home and were looking forward to enjoying their
property and land.
In 1984, about a year after we moved into the house, a local farmer bought up all the
surrounding fields to be used for intensive agriculture. Back then, no one ever informed
us of the dangers of the chemicals being used and that we were being repeatedly exposed
to poisons!
In fact, from the age of 11, I would regularly be in the garden when crop-spraying was
taking place, with the tractor passing only a few feet away from me.

Throughout the years, I suffered from ill-health, notably flu-type illnesses, sore throats
(where the throat would swell to such a degree that the sides almost touched each other
and would be covered in blisters) and headaches amongst other things. I would usually
either dose myself up on paracetomols or on the occasions where I did visit the doctor,
the health effects were misdiagnosed as either flus/viruses or infections and so therefore I
ended up taking many courses of antibiotics.
Not once were we ever told about the pesticides by anyone, so for 9 years we continued
to have all windows/doors open in the summer during the spraying season and being in
the garden during spraying.

I also went to school surrounded by sprayed farmland for 5 years.
(On top of all that I had pesticide exposures from other sources, ie. multiple treatments
for headlice when younger, we had a dog where veterinary products would have been
used, we used domestic pesticide products, and ate non-organic food etc. Then there
would have been probable interactions with other synthetic chemicals which were not
pesticides, as we used to use a lot of other chemicals in the house and then also taking
into account the status of original susceptibility before any exposures to pesticides. For
example I was 11 years old and very slight, so I would have been far more susceptible to
these toxic effects, as I was still in the vulnerable stages of development).

It wasn’t until 1991, when I became very ill, that we started to look at what was in our
surrounding environment. We started to make sure all the doors and windows were shut
tight when spraying was taking place (and for quite a few days after) to try and reduce
exposure as much as possible to these chemicals. Considering that the majority of
spraying takes place during April and July, we are literally trapped in our own home in
up to 90 degree heat, which is totally unbearable and suffocating.
From around 1993 onwards, we have had a constant battle to receive and then continue to
receive 24 hours prior notification of any intended spraying application and what they
would be spraying with.
Unfortunately HSE are regularly pointing out that 24 hours notice is not a legal
requirement. Why not?
How can the law still state that the farmer is not legally obliged to let us know when he is
going to spray next to our property and land with poisons?!

On the occasions where we have been informed, we have kept a diary of the spraying
activities. Very rarely do they spray with just 1 chemical, it is usually 3, 4 and regularly 5
different chemicals mixed together, which can all be from different chemical families.
Many of the chemicals used over the last few years have active ingredients which are
listed as probable and possible human carcinogens by either the US Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) or the
European Union (EU).
Some of these include:- *alachlor, chlorothalonil, cyanazine, cypermethrin, *lindane and
*simazine, amongst others and the 3 marked have also been identified as endocrine
disruptors by either the UK Environment Agency (EA), UK Dept. Of Environment,
Transport and the Regions (DETR), German Federal Environment Agency (Ger),
European Union (EU), Oslo and Paris Commission (OSPAR) or the World Wide Fund
for Nature (WWF).

In 2001, they sprayed the field immediately adjacent to our house 9 times with over 20
chemical products and that is without working out the total number of active ingredients,
solvents, surfactants and adjuvants which could also have been present in each
formulation. (Other fields could all be growing different crops, which can result in
different chemical products being used on each field. So they could spray 1 field one day
with a 5-way mix, then another field with a different 5-way mix and then the third with
yet another 5-way mix etc. which again, does not take into account the total number of
active ingredients, solvents, surfactants and adjuvants that could also be present in the
formulation).
There are 25 fields all within the surrounding area, so by the time they have completed
one round of spraying for each field, it starts all over again, therefore we are at risk of
contamination by entry from oral, dermal and inhalation (as well as eyes) from living in
the sprayed area, 24 hours a day, almost every day! Therefore I cannot even envisage the
amount of chemicals we have been exposed to in this way for over 18 years!

When there has been high levels of visible spraydrift, we have watched clouds of white
chemical mist come straight over the house and there seems to be very little spray
actually ending up on the field itself, which is of course supposed to be the target area.
The strong chemical fumes in and around the house can sometimes still be noticeable up
to almost a week later. We all suffer from both acute effects (eg. burning eyes, nose,
throat, mouth, skin, headaches, flu-type illnesses etc.(as well as in my case an
exacerbation of my existing health problems)) and the chronic long-term health effects
from repeated exposures (which for me include, neurological damage, kidney problems,
bone loss, allergies etc.)
I have no idea what other chronic health effects may yet be to come.

I try and go away now when they spray, because I want to protect my health from being
poisoned further.
My father, who tries to grow organic vegetables in the garden, has no choice but to wear
a respirator, goggles and protective clothing (on his own property and his own land!)
when they are out spraying and for days after, because of the effect these chemicals have
on his health. (He had his eyes burnt very badly whilst in the garden when crop-spraying
was taking place in May 1998 and the doctor confirmed that he had suffered chemical
burns in his eyes, which have since been extremely susceptible to subsequent chemical
exposures).

Everyone has a right to enjoy their own property and land, but this is something my
parents have not been able to do for a very long time now. (1)
If anyone was in the same position as my family and I are, with over 18 years of
exposures to mixtures of pesticides, then they would also be standing up for their rights
and would not expect to be poisoned in their own home and on their own property from
someone else’s extrahazardous activity. Pesticides are highly poisonous compounds and
everyone has a right to protect their own health and that of their family’s from poison!


Extra information related to the continuous crop-spraying activities next to my
parents property and land.

-The Environment Agency took groundwater samples from our ditch for analysis. The
results showed the presence of 4 chemicals. Two of which were banned in the early
1980’s (Dieldrin and Tde(Pp’) a congener of DDT) which shows how persistant they are
to still be there 20 years on!
The other 2 chemicals (Cyanazine and Pirimicarb) had been used on the field within the
previous few weeks before the samples were taken.

- On occasions we have found dead birds in the garden after crop-spraying.

- Burnt trees/vegetation on our land.

- Harvesting dust containing residues of mixtures of pesticides and other chemicals,
sprayed on the crops throughout each year, pouring over our property and so again,
windows closed etc. in hot weather. We can suffer, amongst other things, burning eyes,
nose and throat following exposure to this dust.

- We have had to be very careful planning anything involving the garden especially in
relation to relatives children and babies, due to the high level of risks involved.
- Expenses paid out due to the disruption caused to the family as a result of the spraying,
including when I have to stay away from the area/hotel bills etc. and products we have
bought to try and help the situation, ie. respirators/masks/goggles/fans/air purifiers etc.

- Continuous contamination of land and property and the cleaning up after (ie. garden
furniture/clothes etc.) and also the probability of high levels of pesticide residues within
the house and house dust which would have been brought in from outside. (10)

- Visitors to our house following spraying applications have been taken ill.

- Video evidence of people walking through the fields when spraying is taking place.

- HSE are not particularly helpful and are definitely not enforcing the Health and Safety
at Work Etc. Act (1974) or living up to their motto of “reducing risks and protecting
people.”

A few classic lines though:-

HSE Agricultural Inspector:-

 “Just because you can smell the chemicals it does not mean you are inhaling them.”
So, if HSE inspectors (or anyone else for that matter), honestly believe that when
pesticides are dispersed then the fine airborne particles hover on the boundary of a field
and a garden and then decide that they shouldn’t go over to somebody else’s property, but
instead just drift uncontrollably over the field, then this is as ridiculous a concept as it
sounds.

In a later conversation this changed to:-

 “Just because you can smell the chemicals it does not mean you are inhaling the active
ingredient, it may only be the solvents or the smelling agents.”
So, this time he is accepting that the chemicals do come over to our property, but that in a
5-way mix of chemical products (with all the active ingredients, solvents, surfactants and
adjuvants that could be present within the formulation), all the particles separate and this
time only the solvents will come over to our property and the rest of the particles within
the formulation will drift uncontrollably over the field! This theory is even more bizarre
than the first one!

Both these statements are incorrect. Unfortunately, pesticide particles follow the laws of
physics and not the opinion of individual HSE Inspectors!

When I asked if he would stand in our garden when spraying was taking place, right next
to our boundary he said, “Er, no, I won’t do that.” When I asked why not, he replied, “Er,
well, I won’t do that, as I have to protect my health and safety!!”
Questions.

To poison someone is supposed to be a criminal offence.
1. Why then is this situation legally allowed to be happening?

2. If there is no risk assessment for those exposed to pesticides from living next to
farmland, is there also no risk assessment to cover exposure from harvesting dust, (which
can contain residues of mixtures of pesticides and other chemicals) either?




APPENDIX 2.

Further comments.

Farmers are continuously stating that there is not enough money available to enable them
to change over to organic agriculture and yet there is a substantial amount of money spent
on cleaning up pesticide pollution, whether it be from the land or water supply. If there
was no polluting in the first place, surely it would save so much of this money.

At the WIGRAMP meeting 28/2/02, it was mentioned that the PRC spend £2 million (per
year I presume) to check for pesticide residues. This money could be saved if there were
no pesticides used in
the first place and that money could then be injected into the development of non-
chemical means of pest control.

-   damage to human health from pesticides:-
-   acute-£1 million
-   chronic-not quantified

(from “Estimated Annual External Costs of UK Agriculture” 1996.)

The cost of removing agricultural pesticides from drinking water (alone) is £119.6
million a year.

There is a steady increase in environmental illnesses which are linked to agro-chemical
pollution like cancer, allergies, asthma, eczema, ME and MCS, (which usually follows
acute or repeated low-dose exposures to certain chemicals).

References.

1. Rights.
Article 6 of the EU Treaty reads as follows:-
 “The Union is founded on the Principles of Liberty, Democracy, Respect for Human
Rights and       Fundamental Freedoms and the rule of law, Principles which are
common to the Member States.”

Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union:-
“Enjoyment of these rights entails responsibility of duties with regard to other persons, to
the human community and future generations.”

Article 2:- Right to Life
Article 6:- Right to liberty and security
Article 7:- Right for private and family life
Article 17:- Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and
his
correspondence.
Article 37:- Environmental Protection

Human Rights Act 1998:-

Article 2:- Right to life - Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by Law
Article 5:- Right to liberty and security - Everyone has the right to Liberty and Security
of person
Article 8:- Right to respect for private and family Life - Everyone has the right to respect
for private and family life, his home and his correspondence

Part 2 the First Protocol- Article1- Protection of Property:-
Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions

Some rulings from US courts regarding pesticide cases:- Taken from “Liability for
damage caused by agricultural chemical drift,” by Michael T. Olexa, Associate Professor
and Agriculture Law Specialist, University of Florida.

“abnormally dangerous activity- no one should be unreasonably inconvenienced or
denied the right to enjoy their property.”
“there is no proof to suggest that it is possible to eliminate the risk of drift by the exercise
of reasonable care.”

“the high degree of risk inherent in the spraying of agricultural chemicals.”


2.
Taken from Toxicity of Pesticides- Inhalation Route, Cornell University, New York.


3.
A Health and Safety Executive Inspector told me that they cannot investigate every
pesticide incident, as they don’t have the manpower to be able to do so.
How can there ever be a balanced representation of people exposed to and poisoned by
pesticides if:-

a) it is not being reported because people do not know that their health problems follow
   a pesticide exposure
b) they may know they have been poisoned, but not know who to report it to
c) no investigation by the authorities.

Taking all this into account, pesticide poisoning remains underreported and commonly an
underdiagnosed illness.



4.

Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act (1974):-

“For protecting others against risks to health or safety in connection with the activities of
persons at work, for controlling the keeping and use and preventing the unlawful
acquisition, possession and use of dangerous substances and for controlling certain
emissions into the atmosphere.”

Part 1:- “Health, Safety and Welfare in connection with work and control of dangerous
substances and certain emissions into the atmosphere.”

1(b) “protecting persons other than persons at work against risk to health or safety arising
out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work.”
1(d) “controlling the emission into the atmosphere of noxious or offensive substances
from premises of any class prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph.”


5.
FEPA:- “to protect the health of human beings” (III-16) (1)(a)(i)

6.
A Quote taken from the WHO:-

“in accord with philosophy epoused by the WHO it can hardly be disputed that to enjoy
an acceptable quality of life requires more than simply an absence of terminal disease.
So therefore in this respect, even adverse health effects of a non-life threatening kind that
might be produced by exposure to poisonous chemicals must be considered unacceptable
in that they undoubtedly have a debilitating effect that undoubtedly undermines the
general well-being of those affected.”


7.
Quotes from WIGRAMP draft report and meeting on 28/2/02:-

“Data on exposure from sources other than food and water seem to be extremely poor or
non-existent.”

“The precise mechanisms of interactions between constituents of mixtures, in most cases,
are not known.”

“In the absence of information on the shape of the dose-response curve for both A and B,
it is impossible to predict what the expected response would be to any combination of the
2 compounds even without any interaction.”

“The impact of combined exposure to multiple pesticides of either toxicologically
different or similar groups is rarely addressed. Moreover, the impact of multiple sources
of exposure is not often considered.”

“Where interactions occur, the precise mechanisms of the interactions between the
constituents of a mixture will be in most cases, unknown. It is quite feasible that the
nature of an interaction of one component with a second could be different from one that
may occur between the first and a third component.”

 “It is impossible in terms of hazard identification to test all possible (complex) mixtures
of chemicals existing in the real world or of all possible combinations of chemicals in
simple mixtures at different dose levels.”

8.
Drift has been recorded travelling 5 miles from point of release in Britain (Martin 1982),
up to 15 miles in the USA (Akesson and Yates 1964) and distances up to 50 miles have
been suggested (Bunyan et al 1981).

9.

Sections taken from definitions and literature on the Precautionary Principle:-

“uncertainty should not be regarded as a valid reason for inaction.”

“absence of scientific proof should not delay or prevent proportionate measures to
remove or reduce threats of serious harm.”

In the Commission of the European Communities (Brussells 2/2/00):-
Communication from the Commission on the Precautionary Principle it states:-

“in certain cases, a total ban is the sole possible response to a given risk.”
“the dimension of the Precautionary Principle goes beyond the problems associated with
a short or medium term approach to risks. It also concerns the longer run and the well
being of future generations.”

“to take action to avoid potentially damaging impacts of substances even where there is
no scientific evidence to prove a causal link between emissions and effects.”

“Whether or not to invoke the Precautionary Principle is a decision exercised where
scientific information is insufficient, inconclusive or uncertain and where there are
indications that the possible effects on the environment or human, animal or plant health
may be potentially dangerous and inconsistent with the chosen level of protection.”

10.
A study in Environmental Health Perspectives Vol. 110 no 5, May 02, found high levels
of pesticide residues in house dust for houses in a close proximity to pesticide treated
farmland.
Advisory Committee on Pesticides – Meeting date: 27th February 2003


Comments on the paper Bystander Exposure Assessment


From Georgina Downs



Introduction


The short paper “Bystander Exposure Assessment” has been presented in
an attempt to respond to some of the questions I raised and issues I
highlighted at the ACP Open Meeting on July 10th 2002 and therefore I
would like to give my comments.

“At the Open Meeting on 10 July 2002 the ACP discussed the assessment of
bystander risks. They agreed that the available evidence indicated that the
current methods used to assess potential risks to bystanders should provide
adequate protection, but that further research should be commissioned to
confirm this. This paper presents the results of both new work and also older
data that have not been presented to the ACP before.” – ACP meeting agenda –
16th January.

First of all I would like to ask why this older data has not been seen by the ACP before? I
thought that decisions were made and advice given to Ministers based on all the available
evidence. Therefore may I ask how many other studies have not been seen by the ACP?



I would like to preface what I say by pointing out that at the time of writing I
do not know the outcome of the second recommendation that has gone to
Ministers on this issue.



Comments

I do not think that this short paper has answered or in any way even adequately addressed
the issues I raised at the ACP Open Meeting last year, as it is based on the assessment of
“bystander exposure.” The assumptions in the existing risk assessments are that workers
get more exposure and bystanders less, but people who live in the sprayed areas are not
bystanders and I think I highlighted this quite clearly at the ACP Open Meeting last year,
we are residents and neighbours. Therefore, to continually categorise this type of
exposure scenario into the “bystander” category is wholly inappropriate and inadequate.

There are serious fundamental differences between the 2 models of “bystander” and
“residential neighbour” which is a term I think to be more appropriate than “long-term
bystander,” as it incorporates the fact that people actually live next door to or very near to
an area on a long-term basis. (As taken from definitions in the Oxford English
Dictionary).

   “Bystanders” can be located in or around an area where spraying is or has taken
    place, but at any time can walk away and leave the contaminated area and it is also
    presumed that they will only be receiving the occasional short-term exposure.

   “Residential neighbours” actually live in the contaminated area 24 hours a day,
    every day and are subjected to repeated long-term exposures from both higher and
    lower levels of mixtures of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals, probably
    uninformed and unprotected, with no way of escaping the effects. The routes of
    exposure will include oral, dermal and inhalation, as well as eyes. Not only does
    this have obvious health impacts, both acute and chronic, but it also contaminates
    the whole indoor and outdoor living environment.

(Please see Annexe 1 for a more detailed description for “residential neighbours”).


In Section 4 “LONG-TERM EXPOSURE OF BYSTANDERS AFTER
APPLICATION,” it states:-

“Direct measurements of long-term bystander exposure, for example for a bystander
living adjacent to a treated area, have not been made in the UK. The current assessment
approach considers both dermal contamination and potential inhalation exposure from
the spray cloud at the time of application only. After the spray cloud has passed there
may potentially be further exposure to pesticide that volatilises from the crop or soil
surfaces.”

This confirms that there is no adequate risk assessment for this type of exposure
scenario carried out in the UK, as without an adequate exposure assessment there
cannot possibly be an appropriate and realistic assessment of the risks to human
health for those who live near heavily sprayed fields.

Therefore, this type of exposure scenario has not been adequately considered,
assessed or defined within the current registration system. There is no evidence to
show that the authorised use of pesticides does not pose unacceptable risks to public
health in this type of exposure scenario and yet pesticides are not supposed to be
approved for use until this evidence has been provided. Please can this be addressed
and answered by the ACP.
I would also like to ask the ACP for clarification in relation to “acceptable” and
“unacceptable” risks.

It has been stated on many occasions that society accepts certain risks. However, they can
obviously only accept these risks if they actually know that a situation poses a risk in the
first place.

At the meeting I attended with Ministers in December, Sue Popple from PSD stated that
“pesticides are only cleared in the first place, if they’re shown to be safe to people and
then safe to the environment.”
For decades now members of the public who live near pesticide-treated farmland, who
have raised concerns regarding crop-spraying and health effects to Government and the
authorities have also repeatedly been told that it is “safe.” (Even though the risks for this
exposure scenario have never been adequately assessed – see above).

I decided to look up the definition of “safe” in the Oxford English Dictionary and it
states:- “protected from or not exposed to danger or risk.” It does not say that it depends
on the level of risk, it just states “not exposed to risk.” Obviously spraying poison into
the air where people are living and breathing is definitely not safe or without risk to
human health. At the same meeting mentioned above, Lord Whitty stated that “society
accepts risks of various sorts and the question is is this an unacceptable risk….it is not a
nil risk, as is much in life is not a nil risk.” Therefore, I believe the discussion by the
ACP on this issue, over the last year, has been in relation to the level of risk and whether
it is classified as being “acceptable” or not.

The definition of “risk” in the aforementioned dictionary states:- “a situation involving
exposure to danger.”

These 2 terms “safe” and “acceptable risk” cannot both be used to describe the same
situation, as they are a complete contradiction in terms. Therefore, if people are being
told something is “safe” then how can they possibly agree to it being an “acceptable risk”
as they will not have been informed that there is any risk to their health and that of their
family, whatever that level of risk may be? This is completely unacceptable in a
democratic society. If people are claiming that pesticides are “safe” then there would
have to be no risk at all, as stated in the definition above.

I would appreciate clarification from the ACP in relation to this.


Specific sections

This paper has only marginal relevance to the exposures for “residential neighbours.”
However, I have comments relating to specific sections/quotes. I will also highlight
where possible the differences in “bystander” exposure to that which I have been raising:-
   In Section 3.2, Field trial bystander data it states:-



“The worst bystander potential dermal exposure measured at 1 m in these trials occurred in the
highest wind speed of 18.4 km/h, clearly above the highest recommendation in the Green
Code…..”


Farmers can spray in whatever winds they like, as the Green Code of Practice is not a
legally binding document and there is no legal obligation for farmers to abide by this
Code. Therefore, regardless of the fact that the wind speed used exceeded the highest
recommendation in the Green Code it should not be assumed that this is not realistic in
practice.

This is just one experiment that was rather limited due to it not being designed for the
purposes of bystander exposure and also it does not take into account the variety of
pesticides and other hazardous chemicals members of the public can be exposed to. Also
people may not know they have come into contact with hazardous chemicals and could
contaminate themselves further through ingestion and inhalation of any droplets/particles
that may have landed on their skin.

However, most importantly, this experiment was only looking at dermal contamination
from immediate visible spray drift and not considering any further contamination from
invisible airborne droplets/particles/vapours that may come into contact with skin along
with the repeated dermal exposures for people living adjacent to treated fields, as in this
experiment, volunteer bystanders were positioned 1 m from the edge of the field for the
purposes of one exposure only. This is not representative of those who live near heavily
sprayed fields who could be regularly in their garden, during and after pesticide
applications, including babies, children, pregnant women, the elderly, those with pre-
existing medical problems or those with chemical sensitivity.

   Section 4.1:- UK data on rural long-term air levels of pesticides.

The UK data demonstrates the inadequacy of available data. This is highlighted in
statements like “no field recovery experiments appear to have been done” and
“analytical and field blank tests were reported to be undertaken but no results were
provided,” as well as “details of treatment histories of the surrounding fields are not
provided.”

It then states that:- “Particulate samples of trifluralin and fenpropimorph were both
reported to be associated with sampling during local applications, although details were
not provided.”

This demonstrates that there were levels of other pesticides in the air from other
applications and I would be interested to know how long after these applications the
levels reported were detected and from what distance?
It also states that:- “At Rosemaund the high levels of chlorpyrifos were associated with an
application 300 metres from the sampling station and the high levels of fenpropimorph
were associated with applications directly upwind of the sampling site.”

This demonstrates that even at 300 metres away high levels of a pesticide used were
detected in the air!

   Section 4.2:- German data on air levels at the application site after application.

Again I find this data vague and extremely poor. It states that:- “Analytical and
meteorological details were not reported.”

When studies are done that show serious problems with pesticide use they are often
dismissed by Government Scientists as being due to poor analytical methodology or not
being from an accredited/certified source and yet here we have studies accepted with NO
analytical information at all!
Is it possible that the quality of a study becomes less relevant if the result fits the desired
viewpoint?

It then goes on to state that:- “The highest levels were measured in the second trial where
the in field samples were about 5 times those in the first trial.”

This result shows the marked differences between just 2 trials! Therefore there can be
quite a marked variation from any one trial with another.

   Section 4.3:- California air monitoring by the Air resource Board/Department of
    Pesticide Regulation.

It states that:- “The background samples taken over the 9 hours immediately before the
application, were indicative of use in neighbouring crops.”

This again demonstrates that levels of pesticides from previous applications are still
present in the air for people in and around the area to be exposed to. Therefore members
of the public who live in the surrounding area are exposed not only to higher levels of
mixtures of pesticides during and after application, but also, even if the levels decline,
there will still be prolonged exposure that is in addition to the previous higher exposures.
This is not considered or assessed anywhere in the current UK system (as stated in
Section 4) especially again in relation to exposure for babies, children, pregnant women,
the elderly, those with pre-existing medical problems or those with chemical sensitivity.

Therefore, I think that the data from the ambient air monitoring should have also been
discussed in this paper, as for a “residential neighbour,” it has to be taken into account all
levels of exposure, combined together, regardless of whether the levels detected from
ambient air monitoring are lower or not.

   Section 5:- Exposure of bystanders to Pesticides on Dust at Harvest.
As stated there is no data on possible pesticide concentrations in harvest dust. Therefore
again, there is no evidence to show that exposure to high levels of harvesting dust that
contain mixtures of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals does not pose unacceptable
risks to health. The video I presented to the ACP last year demonstrated very high levels
of this dust pouring over our property from the adjoining field and illustrated the
considerable distances visibly this dust can travel (without even taking into account any
invisible dust particles in the air).

The “tentative” estimate that has been calculated in this paper is based on there being
only 1 pesticide present in the dust and not considering any interactions between all the
mixtures of pesticides/hazardous chemicals that may be present in harvesting dust.

It has also only mentioned exposure via inhalation and not considered other exposure
routes in addition to this, like ingestion and exposure to the eyes from this dust.

Again, it is looking at one exposure solely and not taking into account the accumulation
from the total overall exposure of all agricultural pesticide intake for “residential
neighbours.” For example, continuous crop-spraying applications throughout every year,
for multiple years and all the routes of exposure combined/harvesting dust and all routes
of exposure combined and any other exposures ( and that is without taking into account
exposures to pesticides and other hazardous chemicals from all other sources, domestic,
garden etc.).

   Section 6:- Exposure of Children Following Drift into Gardens.

This demonstrates that there is further continued exposure to “residential neighbours”
from the contamination of neighbouring land after application. Babies/toddlers and young
children are more likely to play on contaminated grass and grounds and very often, young
babies will be crawling with their noses facing the ground. They will have
contaminated/unwashed hands that are likely to end up in mouths and eyes, as they will
not be aware of any danger/risks and would be too young to understand anyway! They
could also spend a considerable amount of time in the garden, due to hot weather, during
and after all pesticide treatments, of all the adjoining fields, during the spraying season,
especially if they are of a pre-school age, where hot weather would also increase the
likelihood of additional vaporisation.

This will result in an extremely high level of exposure for anyone, let alone babies/young
children, when combined with all other routes of exposure and from all sources,
throughout every year.

A few other general points related to children and pesticide exposures:-

         risks to children are uniformly higher than those of adults as children absorb
          greater concentrations of pesticides poisons per pound of body weight through
          inhalation, ingestion and contact with the skin
         children will probably not understand the dangers and will definitely not have
          given informed consent to have their health put at any risk, whatever level that
          risk may be

         a child’s biology is different – their immune system is less developed and may
          be less protective and therefore they will be far more susceptible to any toxic
          effects

         children are extremely vulnerable to classes of synthetic pesticide poisons that
          mimic naturally occurring hormones or enzymes

         developing cells are more easily damaged than cells that have completed
          development. During the rapid growth period of childhood, cells divide very
          quickly, making it more likely that a cellular mutation will be reproduced, thus
          initiating cancer

         because they are younger, children have a longer life span ahead of them for
          pesticide/chemically induced health problems to progress


It states in one paragraph that:- “In practice the presence of a boundary structure would
mitigate the levels of drift.”

I presume this is based on the drift being immediate visible spray drift? In terms of
particles/droplets/vapours in the air, a small distance of just a few metres will not provide
adequate protection from exposure for those in the surrounding areas, as has previously
been demonstrated even in this short paper with high levels of chlorpyrifos associated
with an application 300 metres from the sampling station – Therefore the boundary
would have to be of a substantial margin in an attempt to realistically try and reduce
exposure to pesticides via the air, to prevent the contamination of neighbouring land and
to protect people from the high level of risk inherent in the spraying of agricultural
chemicals.


Summary

   I definitely do not think that the data presented in this short paper demonstrates that
    the current approach is protective for those who actually live near heavily sprayed
    fields, (“residential neighbours”) as there is no adequate risk assessment for this type
    of exposure scenario carried out in the UK and therefore there is no evidence to show
    that the authorised use of pesticides does not pose unacceptable risks to public health
    in this type of exposure scenario

   It may be difficult to quantify, but can be nothing but harmful both in the short and
    long-term and therefore as previously stated in the paper I presented to the ACP last
    year, the only responsible course of action to take is an immediate ban on crop-
    spraying within a certain distance of human habitation/schools/work places etc.

 As I do not know the outcome of the recommendation to Ministers, I do not feel it is
appropriate for me to comment further at this time and I therefore look forward to hearing
from the Ministers in due course.

ANNEXE 1

Exposure to “residential neighbours” has to take into account all the following
combined criteria:-

   The accumulation from the total overall exposure of all agricultural pesticide intake
    from continuous crop-spraying applications including the high levels of exposure
    together with the slightly lower levels – for example, near field applications and
    applications on fields 1 or 2 away, sequentially, possibly on the same day, with
    different chemical mixes, repeatedly throughout the year, every year and for the
    amount of years exposed, which could be a life-time

   All routes of exposure combined – oral, dermal and inhalation, as well as eyes, as a
    total overall exposure load, for each and every time exposure occurs and for the
    duration of these exposures (although during the spraying season this is likely to be
    fairly constant exposure) and the acute and chronic health effects, taking into
    account:-

         all exposures – particles, droplets, vapours, dusts etc.

         no information, protection or precautions taken to reduce exposure

         the mixtures of chemicals exposed to from each and every application,
          sequentially, throughout each year, every year

         vulnerable groups including babies, children, pregnant women, the elderly,
          those with pre-existing medical problems/body burdens and chemical
          sensitivity and the additional risks associated with each of these specific groups

         contamination in both outdoor and indoor environments – as pesticides
          will be in the surrounding air where people are living and breathing for
          continued exposure, 24 hours a day – therefore safety data sheet instruction to
          remove any contaminated person from exposure, to fresh air, is impossible –
          spraying takes place during hot weather every year with increased likelihood of
          vapour lift off and drift and also people regularly in gardens/outside/windows
          open etc. – washing/garden furniture/outdoor equipment could all be
          contaminated – pesticides can be transported on shoes, clothes, dust etc. from
          outdoor applications and then redistributed into indoor air, surfaces and house
          dust for further prolonged exposure
          exposure to mixtures of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals in harvesting
           dust when harvesting occurs, from multiple fields, every year, for the amount
           of years exposed and all routes of exposure combined

          exposure to pesticides and other hazardous chemicals from all other sources
           (domestic/garden/food residues/pest control etc.)

ANNEXE 2


I have also included some additional information and documentation for ACP
Members including:-


   5 graphs – these graphs illustrate the results for either high level near field air
    concentrations or high ambient air concentrations, for various pesticides, from
    monitoring carried out by the California Air Resources Board. This is relevant to both
    the California data presented in the PSD paper (as some of these air concentrations
    were mentioned, however others like Diazinon were not) and also the Californian
    study mentioned below. The graphs include:-

          Diazinon Concentration in Air Near Kings County Peach Orchard, February
           1998

          Chlorpyrifos Concentration in Air Near a Tulare County Orange Grove, June
           1996 (already presented in PSD paper)

          Downwind Concentrations of MITC in Air Near a Sprinkler Application in
           Kern County, August 1993

          Average Concentrations of MITC in Ambient Air in Kern County, 1997 and
           1998

          Average Annual Concentrations of Telone in Ambient Air in Kern County
           and the Central Coast


   A recent study from California entitled “Community Exposures to Airborne
    Agricultural Pesticides in California: Ranking of Inhalation Risks.” – This study
    evaluates pesticide use within 1.5 – 3 miles of monitoring stations and concentrates
    on “a rarely evaluated exposure – inhalation of agricultural pesticides.” It is noted that
    obviously the levels will be significantly higher for those who actually live near field
    applications.
   An article from The Ecologist (Dec 2002/Jan 2003 edition) entitled “Committing
    Pesticide,” that highlights the risks to health and health effects for those who work in
    the fields and again for those who live in the surrounding area to pesticide-treated
    farmland. I am waiting for confirmation of the exact references to the studies
    mentioned in this article, but I have included those that I think are relevant. I thought
    this article might be of interest to ACP Members.



Advisory Committee on Pesticides – Meeting date: 10th July 2003

Re: Pesticide Exposures for People Living in Agricultural Areas and the
“Bystander Risk Assessment”


Comments from Georgina Downs

I have a number of comments to make regarding this issue.

First of all, I would like to make a couple of points in relation to the Chairman’s letter
“Exposure to Pesticides,” that is on the PSD website.

The Chairman states that, “Nor is it correct that the official method for assessing
exposure to bystanders assumes that people are only subject to occasional short-term
exposure. It aims to estimate the maximum daily exposure that an individual might incur
and then assumes that this exposure occurs on each day of a spraying season.”

The maximum daily exposure that is being estimated is for the duration of 5 minutes and
therefore as previously confirmed by Prof. Smith on Farming Today (25/3/03) exposure
for “bystanders” is assessed for just 5 minutes each day for a 90 day period.

This model is dangerously inadequate and bears no resemblance to the sort of exposure
scenario experienced by people who are actually living in these sprayed areas, 24 hours a
day, every day and for multiple years. (The PSD paper presented for the ACP meeting on
January 16th 2003 admitted that, “Direct measurements of long-term bystander exposure,
for example for a bystander living adjacent to a treated area, have not been made in the
UK. The current assessment approach considers both dermal contamination and
potential inhalation exposure from the spray cloud at the time of application only. After
the spray cloud has passed there may potentially be further exposure to pesticide that
volatilises from the crop or soil surfaces.” – It has since been confirmed by PSD that
there have been no direct measurements for this exposure scenario made in Europe
either).
Prof. Coggon then goes on to say that “We are now exploring a selection of worst-case
scenarios to check that this holds true even in extreme situations.”

Please could the Chairman clarify his use of the word “extreme?” – Living near regularly
sprayed farmland is neither unique nor uncommon!

I would like to point out that the article in The Observer (April 13th) by Mark Townsend
was not misleading and was based on facts and evidence provided by myself.

Pesticides by their very nature are designed to kill living organisms, so it is not surprising
that these chemicals are highly poisonous substances. Therefore, it amazes me that the
Government, it’s agencies and Scientific Advisors along with the Manufacturers of these
products continue to use the word “safe” when referring to pesticides. This is not only
factually inaccurate and seriously misleading to both farmers and the public, but it is
obviously downright dangerous. The safety data sheet for each product shows how
hazardous these chemicals are, with statements like:-

   Very toxic by inhalation, in contact with skin and swallowed
   May be fatal if inhaled
   Do not breathe spray/do not breathe vapour
   If swallowed can kill
   May cause lung damage if swallowed
   Risk of serious damage to eyes
   Possible risk of irreversible effects
   May cause tingling/numbness in exposed area (paraesthesia)
   Wear suitable protective clothing, gloves, eyes/face protection, approved air
    purifying respirator
   Obtain immediate medical attention

The Safety Data Sheet for a product is not solely related to an operator, as the advice
given is for anyone who is at risk of exposure to the chemicals and who may suffer
adverse health effects. Therefore I think this highlights that these chemicals are anything
but “safe!” The late Professor Dennis Parke, Former Chairman WHO Joint Meeting on
Pesticide Residues has said “Not a single tested pesticide has ever been proven safe."


I would like to point out a few discrepancies between statements made by Professor
Coggon recently in relation to ill-health for people living near sprayed fields and ask if he
might offer some clarification. On Farming Today (3/5/03) he stated “we don’t really
have evidence that health problems are being caused by exposure to one or more specific
pesticides in this situation.” This is in complete contrast to the statement made at last
year’s Open Meeting (10th July 2002) where he said “There certainly is some ill-health
that is occurring in relation to pesticide spraying – nobody is trying to deny that.”
The Pesticides Incidents Appraisal Panel has confirmed cases of poisoning from just 1
exposure to spraydrift. Therefore people who live near to fields that are regularly sprayed
will be subjected to a lot of spraydrift (whether it be visible or invisible) which means
they are clearly at risk of suffering adverse health effects following exposure. Therefore
this is a serious health risk and it is unacceptable.


The principle aim of pesticide regulation is supposed to be the protection of public health,
therefore this has to be the number one priority and take precedence over any financial,
economic or other considerations. People are not being informed about the dangers and
risks of these chemicals. This means that they are not able to take the necessary
precautions to protect themselves from exposure and yet everyone has a recognised right
to protect their health and the health of their family from any risks to their health and
safety.

People have a right to know when spraying is going to take place and also to know the
chemicals that are being used. Then if anyone does suffer any adverse health effects, they
will be able to tell their doctor or other medical advisors exactly which chemicals they
have been exposed to, as a doctor cannot possibly make a proper assessment of their
health effects unless this information is provided.

With the increase in cancers, ME, asthma’s, allergies and many other illnesses (especially
in young children) then what is in the surrounding environment has to be taken into
consideration. These chemicals are extremely dangerous and I think that anyone with
common sense can see that regularly spraying poison into the air where people live and
breathe is definitely not safe and can be nothing but harmful both in the short and the
long-term. The World Health Organisation’s European Charter on Environment and
Health states that: “Every individual is entitled to “an environment conducive to the
highest level of health and well being” and that “the health of every individual,
especially those in vulnerable and high risk groups must be protected.” In most cases it is
not possible to reverse the damage caused, therefore the significance of these
consequences requires a precautionary approach.

The only responsible course of action for the Government to take is:

   A ban on crop-spraying and the use of pesticides near to homes, schools, workplaces
    and any other places of human habitation. The land that is not sprayed could still be
    farmed using sustainable non-chemical management practices – NB. Studies have
    shown pesticides located 1.5 – 3 miles away from a treated area and therefore a
    small buffer zone is not going to be adequate or in any way acceptable to protect
    people from the high level of risk inherent in the spraying of agricultural chemicals

   Introduce a new legal obligation to warn people in advance that spraying is to take
    place and to provide the necessary chemical information – NB. In California pesticide
    users are legally bound to register what they are using and how much and that is then
    publicly available information
The Government and their advisors must recognise the effects that pesticides have on
human health, as prevention of pesticide poisoning is the only way to protect people from
pesticide related ill-health.

I would like to point out that if there is any Consultation process in relation to this issue,
then obviously the key stakeholders should be the people who are actually living in this
situation.

In my previous submission for the meeting held on 10th April 2003, I stated that I had
received a considerable response from people all over the country following the recent
media coverage, who are experiencing exactly the same situation from living near
pesticide-treated areas. I also stated that as soon as I had collated all the details together I
would make sure that the Chairman and the Committee were made fully aware of these
responses.

Due to the level of response and the fact that I have been informed that this submission
has to be in by tomorrow, then I have not been able to collate all this information together
in time for this meeting. However, I have included below sections from just a few of the
emails that I received with all names, addresses and other personal details removed, as I
believe that the Committee has to be kept informed of the response from other cases. I
have received email after email from people reporting clusters of cancers, leukaemia’s,
neurological conditions and various other unexplained illnesses and diseases in their
communities, where they all live in the surrounding area to fields that are regularly
sprayed.

This cannot continue to be dismissed and ignored as just “chance coincidences.”

Please see enclosed article “A Breath of Fresh Air?” for further comments in relation to
this issue and the current regulations – First published on The Observer website (13/4/03)

I look forward to hearing from the Committee and Ministers in due course.


Some examples of emails received following the recent media coverage:-

   George

I am so pleased that you are taking up the issue of crop spraying and at the same time, so
sorry that you have had to. For some time I have been concerned about this issue. I live in
a small village and we have 6 cases of ME and several times people have remarked at the
very high number of cancer, leukaemia and other illnesses. My daughter was one of the
ME sufferers and chose to end her life on her 27th birthday in 2001.
We moved here in 1980, living adjacent to a field. We had not been here long before my
daughter was caught in the spray of an aircraft spraying the crops. I believe that this
practice has now been banned. But we have still had to put up with the spray drifting onto
our garden.

I believe much of the problem of these illnesses has been caused by organophosphates.
Farmers dipping their sheep became ill with an ME like illness. Tents used in the Gulf
War in early 90s were sprayed with organophosphates. They were sold after the war. I
later read that many of the people who bought the tents became ill also.

I feel that the government will do their best to totally ignore this issue if they can. To
admit to it would involve them having to pay out fantastic compensation.

   Dear Georgina,
I read your piece with fascination and would like to express my
admiration for what you are doing, you are very courageous.

I moved with my husband and young child to a village just south of Lincolnshire is another heavily
industrialised agricultural county.

3 years on...one neighbour has died of a cancer, the next door neighbour is
dying of leukemia, the neighbour next to him has had leukemia (all 3 in
their 50's), 2 women (in 30's) in the village have had breast cancer, a
mother at my child's school has lupus, there are plenty of miscarriages,I
myself have had one (but am late 30's) and my 6 year old suffers from
headaches. There is also what the doctor calls a "virus" going round with
symptoms of joint pain, itchy rash, flu symptoms.
I also hear stories of dogs going blind etc.



   George,

I would say that where we live, has more than it's far share of health problems,
ranging from premature deaths from heart attacks and strokes, high numbers of
people with epilepsy and various cancers, and yes, even the dogs seem to die
young. One lady stopped walking her dog in the orchards because it lost the hair
from it's belly. The hair grew back but the dog still died young from cancer, as did
our neighbour's. There are also vast numbers of children with asthma and
eczema and the local primary school is sometimes down on pupils by as many
as a third. We moved here from central London, expecting to be able to offer our
children a better quality of life. Bad move I think!
What I really need to know is how we can find out what is being sprayed locally

   Dear Georgina,

I have seen the article in today's Observer.
In 1987 we moved to a house which faces a very large field which is used to cultivate
potatoes, spring onions, wheat and sometimes lettuce. The crops are sprayed regularly.

In 1998 our son was diagnosed with leukaemia and he died in March 2000 at the age of 21.
His bedroom faced the field (in an easterly direction from which the wind blows regularly in
this part) and was only about 20 metres from the edge of the field. He often complained of a
metallic taste in his mouth when the field had been sprayed.

A neighbour's dog , which was regularly exercised around the field died of leukaemia a year
before my son’s illness was diagnosed.

We will probably never know the cause of his illness. However, the doctors who treated him
showed no interest in collecting environmental data. It is only by the careful collection of data
that the risks can be identified and quantified and action taken.

I wish to encourage you in your efforts to establish the link between pesticide spraying and ill-
health and would like to help you in anyway possible.



   Dear Miss Downs,

I was greatly interested to read the Observer’s recent article about the damage to
your family’s health as a result of crop spraying, and your ongoing fight with the
government to expose the health risks.

I am 16, and live in a small village, a strong farming area. For nearly five years
now I have suffered from bowel problems and two years ago I was diagnosed as
having Ulcerative Colitis (similar to Crohn’s disease), the cause being “unknown”.
I live with my family next to a field, separated from us by only a metre-wide strip
of hedge and grass. This is one of the most intensely crop-farmed areas of
Scotland, and over the years our field has been sown with various grains, potato,
rape and other brassica. Needless to say, the field is subject to heavy spraying.

When we suggested to our doctors the possibility of my disease being caused by
the chemicals on the fields they disregarded the idea, as they could find no
evidence for it in my bloodstream.

However, I and my family remain unconvinced. There are several cases of
bowel disease in our small village, as well as other illnesses, and it is has not
been uncommon in the past for animals to give to birth to deformed litters in the
summer, after heavy crop spraying. A friend also lost an entire aviary after his
neighbouring field was sprayed.
It is also surely not just a coincidence that (as my specialist doctor informs me)
this area has an unusually high rate of bowel disease – especially amongst
youngsters – and we are also the most intensely farmed area in the whole of
Scotland.

   Hi,
I read with great interest the article in the Observer of 13 April 2003. My 15 year
old sister has suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for the past seven years,
she is home schooled and now suffers from multiple food and chemical
sensitivities. It has been heart breaking to see my bright happy sister disintegrate
into someone who at times can barely sit up. My mother has also suffered from
CFS for the same number of years. Recently my youngest sister started to suffer
from frequent bouts of eye infections and respiratory infections, she also suffers
from unexplained stomach problems, the same problems that have plagued me
from an early age.

Our house overlooks an intensively managed farm, the two are separated by a
road but my sisters' main bouts of illness are associated with the times of crop
spraying throughout the year.
There are frequent incidents of cancers and leukaemia in our area and believe
that there will be a direct link between the two.

I am extremely glad that someone has the courage to take on the government
over this matter. It has worried many for some time.

   Dear Ms Downs,

I read the article about crop spraying in The Observer this Sunday, and would
like to contact you regarding the death of my son, aged 13, from a brain tumour
in November 2002. Previous to his death, he was a healthy child rarely staying
away from school for health reasons. He did, however, have a mysterious skin
problem on his hands which the doctors were unable to explain, though I think
they did say it might have been related to exposure to an unidentified substance.
We live in a village and our garden overlooks a field which used to have cows on
it the summer. Before they were put out, it was sprayed with pesticide though I
cannot remember how frequently it was done or what pesticide was used. There
is no history of brain tumours in my husband's family or my own. In addition, my
other son, aged 11, was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome - again, no such
problem has existed in either of our families.

I should very much like to offer you any help I can in your campaign to protect
members of the public against the effects of crop spraying.
:
   Hi,


I was not sure who to contact with this information, but after watching a shocking
programme on the BBC, about a families struggle in living on the edge of a field which is
sprayed with pesticides, I felt I wanted to tell someone of our frighteningly similar story,
if only to help strengthen the case for better laws to protect us.

I live in a village, a farming village and I have lived here all my life, I have actually lived
on the edge of the same field in different houses, once for about 5 years when I was
young ( 4 - 9YEARS ) and recently with my own family for 6 years. When I was young
my friends and I permanently spent time in the corn field building dens just after the crop
sprayer has been over. My health has not been good for a few years now, but tests have
revealed nothing when I have repeatedly been back to the doctors with extreme tiredness
and lethargy, muscle weakness, sore throats one after the other, tight chestedness, short of
breath and most recently I have developed SVT whilst living at this house. What really
made my mind up to contact you is that it was not only me that had serious ill health
since living at this address, but my husband suffered severe tiredness, my daughter
headaches and my youngest has Asthma. Also one neighbour developed a serious thyroid
problem and another neighbour developed cancer and has since died at the age of 41.My
direct neighbour suffered extreme tiredness too. All this in a small close with nine
houses.

   Dear Georgina,

Congratulations for doing all you have re pesticide spraying.

Responsibility, ethics and accountability are words many people & Governments using pesticides don't
have.

Residents in West Auckland have been fighting pesticide being sprayed on their community for the last
16 months, every 2 - 3 weeks. Needless to say there are many sick people.


   Dear Ms Downs

I am the country walks correspondent of ………… for the last seven years, 340
walks.
Come the summer spraying is sometimes on my mind and I have received a little
correspondence from my readers on this. I would like public rights of way and
open access areas protected from dangerous spraying.

In the context of an enlarging eco-agriculture there should be room for plenty of
land designated as we should wish.

   Dear Georgina

Thanks for the email. Certainly dated information re spraying on public rights of
way would do us walkers nicely. Consequently walkers, children, dogs even,
have to brush their way thought the crop, picking up a good coating

   Dear Georgina,

I am mailing you reference your problem and the similar one that I too have
here. I live out in the country with my wife and three small children, my back
garden backs onto fields that are regularly sprayed with something that
seems to make me wake up the following morning with a severe headache. Is
there any responsibility issues at all relating to farmers disclosing the
information about the chemicals they are putting into the atmosphere or are
they really a law to themselves.
I can't believe that there is no way or law that must state that the general
public must be made aware of the risks of spraying.

   Hi there,

I live in a rented 3 bedroom house in between two fields. Our house is rented and owned
by the land owner of the fields. The fields were unused when we moved in 6 months ago.
But now both have had crops planted. This morning I woke up to a tractor and trailer crop
spraying the wind was blowing in our direction and a mist could clearly be seen even half
an hour later when we left for work. My fiancée is pregnant - about 9 weeks. I'm worried
that crop spraying right near our house will effect our health and our future baby's. We
both had headaches. We weren't given any warning that the neighbouring fields were
going to be sprayed, and the field is literally about 15 metres from our house. The tractor
came right up to our back garden fence and continued spraying all the way past.
 Dear Georgina

We have been in contact with the land-owner and with the farmer himself, explaining
about my husband’s weakened lungs, as the farmer does spray right up to the boundary of
the field, which is only 3m away from our kitchen window. Two years ago, whatever it
was he was using killed a great many bushes in the hedge, and badly affected shrubs in
the garden causing the previous owners to speak to both him and the local NFU liaison
officer about it. Despite this, 2 weeks ago we observed him spraying the oil-seed rape and
we were obliged to retreat indoors and close all the windows because of the chemical
fumes.

   Hi Georgina,

We thank you for all the effort you and your family have put in over the years , and we
are pleased that the Government is now taking note of the problem.

However, as we intend to stay here long term, we are concerned about long term effects
as well as short term. It would be useful if there was a list of toxicity of the various
pesticides used on different crops.

   Dear Georgina

Thanks so much for your email and it was good to hear about your continued
efforts to change the law in this area.

To be honest after I watched The Food Police I decided not to proceed with
buying the house in Climping. I was so upset to see what had happened to you
and your family and decided there was absolutely no point in taking a risk. Your
plight at least pre-warned me of the possible dangers but sadly you of course
had none!

   Email:-

The reason for my original Email to you was because my wife and I
are senior citizens and often walk across field paths that are virtually non
existent. As we have a dog and my wife is an asthmatic, toxic sprays are an obvious
concern to me. Health and safety appear to have one rule for industry and
another for farming. Toxic chemicals are poisonous wherever they
are used and are harmful to all living organisms.


   Dear Georgina

I was woken this morning by the sound of a tractor and my heart sunk
as once again I watched it going up and down the fields which
surround my house spraying the wheat.
I am aware that you are promoting the campaign against crop
spraying near houses, schools etc. and was wondering what progress
you are making and how people can get involved to help you.

Like you, I always make sure the windows are firmly shut and my son
is confined to the house while the spraying takes place, but it is
unbelievable that the farmer doesn't have to at least give notice a
before the spraying takes place and to inform the local population
which chemicals or fertilizers are being used.

   hi

i have just read your article with great interest. I have a 20 month old baby who
keeps becoming ill. seems to be every time the farmer sprays something. His
rape seed is literally two feet from my fence. interestingly I keep getting tired and
feel all achy perhaps that is what is wrong with me.
thank you for publishing your story and shedding so light on my problems

   Dear Georgina

We lived in a Lincolnshire village in the 1980`s and witnessed crop spraying from
aircraft. A workmate who is no longer with us was a keen gardener lost plants
owing to spraying, he passed away at the age of 56, he did suffer breathing
difficulties.

We moved to a national parks area in 1986, where we lived for 14 years, we
never witnessed any spraying only a little liming as we now live we are back in an
agricultural area where crop spraying does take place and as my wife suffers
from asthma I am concerned, we walk our dog across paths that bisect growing
crops so it is impossible to avoid spraying across the footpath and one never
knows without observing when these operations have taken place an obvious
danger to us and the dog also.
The school is in very close proximity to where crop spraying takes place.

   Dear Georgina,

Like you and your family, my husband and I live surrounded by arable fields that
are sprayed with dangerous chemicals. Like you, I have been made very ill by
them, and like you, we have to shut ourselves up indoors when spraying is taking
place. Luckily, I am on very good terms with all the farmers responsible for the
spraying, and they always let me know when they are about to start work.
I am sure that more needs to be done to bring the scandal of chemical poisoning
to public and ministerial notice, and I admire you very much for what you are
doing.

   George

I did not see all of the issues covered by the programme but my daughter did, and she informs me that it
was like seeing and hearing her own father. Over the last two years my voice has deteriorated to a point
were only a few people can understand me and I have had to give my job as I could not communicate
effectively. My GP has referred me to a Neurologist and he is waiting to see if it affects any other muscle
groups before giving me a diagnosis. I live in a rural area and may have been exposed to herbicides and
pesticides, in actual fact I sprayed our two acre paddock with a cocktail recommended by a local contractor
to get rid of perenial weeds. I did this without a face mask of any kind after being assured it would not
affect me, I now wonder.


   Dear Georgina,

We watched with great interest, sympathy and concern the piece on the Food Police
programme about your battle against your neighbouring farmer's agricultural spraying,
not to mention admiration for your fighting spirit.

We were particularly interested because while living in New Zealand some 30 years ago
we had a not dissimilar experience. We had bought a house in an area where chinese
gooseberries (nowadays marketed as kiwi fruit) were grown. What we did not know was
that these were heavily sprayed with organophosphates because if any of the fruit arrived
in the USA with any sign of insect infestation the consignment would be destroyed. Mind
you, chinese gooseberries grow perfectly well without being sprayed.

My wife was out walking along the road one day when she saw a man in what looked like
a chemical warfare suit driving a tractor spraying the plants. The spray drifted over her.
The effects on her health were appalling. We had to sell up quickly and move away - we
were fortunate that we could sell. There was one doctor in NZ at that time who was aware
of the dangers of spraying and he monitored her cholinesterase levels, which dropped
dangerously low. The official explanation of that was that the laboratory had made a
mistake.
   Dear Georgina

I live approximately one kilometre from the neighbours, but unfortunately only some fifty metres from the
lands farmed by two consortiums and treated every twenty one days with products I can only guess at when
crops planted there can be husbanded this way.(i.e. with the lowest labour intensity) Attempts to get them
to notify me as to when and with what they will be spraying have so far failed and the local HSE say there
is nothing that can be done as long as they follow the guide lines! This of course is no help to me and I
become a prisoner at home when these products are being used. With many health authorities still being
like mine, refusing conclusive testing, the problem is catastrophic for sufferers. In my case I was fortunate
to have a supportive GP and was lucky to take part in the SCOPE survey and therefore obtain the evidence
to pursue my treatment.


   Email:

This evening on South Today you showed an article on crop spraying. I was
very interested in this because my father has also been trying to get
tighter rules introduced when farmers are spraying. He is an equine vet and
has been researching cases of horses that have suffered exposure to the
chemicals used for crop spraying in a neighbouring field. Already one horse
has "dropped dead" during exercise and others have had to be euthenased.
When receiving the results back from the post mortoms it has been discovered
that all the horses suffered liver damage, red blood cell haemolysis and all
haemorrhaged. He tried to speak to officials about this but they weren't
interested in the cases and said that the P.M results show that the liver
damage was from "normal plant toxins". However all the pathologists who
studied the case said that the results were not like the results from plant
toxins and the liver damage was caused by something else.

   Email:-

I last night watched a documentary about this issue. I was astonished that spraying known hazardous
chemicals can take place so close to the edge of farmland. It is unacceptable that anyone should legally be
able to spread known toxins of any type so that they may be transported off the owners land and onto/into
people who give no permission to be poisoned. If anyone let poisons into the water supply there would be
an outcry. Remember Camelford? So how can it be OK to poison the air? Passive smoking is being dealt
with, how about passive organophosphate inhaling? Many people may be affected by this and have no way
of knowing. It appears the Government have no idea how much people are affected by it. Is there a link
with asthma?


I wonder if legally this would not be considered a nuisance and could be stopped on that basis, but I would
like to see more specific law against such poisons floating around, or even being washed around. What
happens if it rains after spraying and another property is down-stream?


   Dear Georgina,


I watched with great interest on Food Police tonight, about your family and the problems you are having
with pesticides. I was appalled at what you all have been through and how selfish the Farmer is by not
divulging information about his pesticides. It seems unbelievable in this day and age that there is no
regulation or law to cover this problem and I fully back your approach to the Government to ask for their
support in changing the laws.


Please feel free to show this letter of support to the Minister when you next have a meeting.


   Dear Ms Georgina Downs

I read with interest and empathy your paper entitled "Can we have a
breath of fresh air?" which appeared in Observer Sunday April 13, 2003.
I know and assist peoples who are suffering from ills caused by
exposure of environmental chemicals, including agricultural and
horticultural chemicals. I want to inform your article and campaign to
them, through their internet home page. I should appreciate it if you
could a permission of translation into Japanese and posting on their
home page your article. Prof…………Dr. Department of 1st Anatomy Hamamatsu
University School of Medicine Handa-yama 1-20-1 Hamamatsu 431-3125
Japan

   Dear Downs:

Thank you for your pemission.
I think you cannot read this japanese version of your article directly, becouse which
contains specific Japanese font.
It is posted on following URL:
http://www.geocities.co.jp/NatureLand-Sky/5613/georgina0304.htm
Today (23 April), they will make a petition to Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries of Japan, in order to limit pesticide application in residential areas.

   Georgina,

I read about your campaign in The Observer this last week. As a "semi-professional" in
the health & safety field I was intrigued by the apparent disparity between what is
required of (manufacturing) industry and what appears to be OK for Farming.

There are very clear rules in the COSHH Regulations for example which make it a duty
on employers to accurately assess the exposure to substances and to ensure that they fall
within prescribed figures. In the case of substances which have the most serious health
effects there is a maximum exposure level set and published and a company has to be
able to demonstrate that it does not exceed that level and that it has made efforts to
reduce the level to that as low as is reasonably practicable. In these cases the HSE usually
has a lot to say for itself.


Normally what happens within a factory does not affect members of the public but in
farming the potential is obviously much greater. I wonder what the crop-spraying
employee wears during his activity and why the public are not entitled to a proper risk
assessment? Clearly there is something strange here.

   Email:-

I am surprised by the attitude of the HSE inspectors which contradicts my experience.
Earlier this year I went on a "voluntary" half day course on farm safety organised by the
HSE This involved 20 minutes talks and demonstrations on a variety of farm hazards
given by experienced farmers and HSE Inspectors.

One lecture on handling chemicals and mixing them for use in sprayers demonstrated
how much could splash on to you during the process. They went to quite some trouble to
explain which sort of protective clothing to use and of what standard, apparently most
industrial rubber gloves only act as an impermeable barrier for 2 to 6 minutes. It was
surprising what a high quality of equipment they recommend in terms of gloves, overalls
and face mask.
This is obviously contradicts the HSE's attitude to the effects of the same chemicals on
someone stood in their own garden in a T-shirt and shorts while the neighbouring field is
sprayed, which may happen several times a month. Obviously there is a difference in
concentration levels between mixing the concentrate and the final sprayed liquid but there
is an enormous difference between wearing protective clothing and bare skin.

I have just received DEFRA's leaflet on "Keeping Pesticides out of Water" which has the
following quotes:-

"In just one second two nozzles can deliver enough pesticide to contaminate the water in
a 3 kilometre length of a good size brook"

"Half a litre of mixed concentrate could contaminate 60,000 cubic metres of water to the
EC limit - equivalent to the contents of a reservoir for a large town"

If it does that to drinking water I suppose you shouldn't breath in the area of spray
droplets !
Pesticide Exposures for people living in agricultural areas and the
“bystander risk assessment” – European Policy and UK Policy



   Ministers meeting 17/12/02:- Points covered and recommendations put
    forward for changes in the regulations and legislation governing crop-
    spraying and general recommendations in relation to the Gov’s existing
    pesticide policy. There needs to be a ban on crop-spraying within a certain
    distance of human habitation (homes/schools/workplaces etc.) and a legal
    obligation for farmers to inform people that spraying is to take place and to
    supply the information on the chemicals to be used. The land that is not
    sprayed would have to be farmed using sustainable non-chemical
    management practices. I am currently awaiting their response.

   European Commission:- Correspondence with DG Environment. I also met a
    member of the Commission’s DG Health and Consumer department at a recent
    conference. I gave him a copy of the video and other documentation I submitted for
    the European Commission and he agreed that people who live near heavily sprayed
    fields are not “bystanders” and that this is something that needs to be included in the
    current review of Directive 91/414 EEC.

   European Policy:- Directive 91/414 EEC states:- “The Directive requires very
    extensive risk assessments for effects on health and environment to be carried out
    before a PPP can be placed on the market and used.”

   UK Policy:- In ACP documentation it states:- “The scientific assessment of pesticides
    claims that no one should develop any serious illness through the use of pesticides
    and no one should be harmed or made ill by the presence of pesticide residues in food
    and drink.” It also says:-“ The current registration system aims to ensure that no
    authorised use of pesticides will pose unacceptable risks to human health, wildlife or
    the environment.” It goes on to say:- “Inevitably however, a measure of uncertainty
    remains and science can never give a cast-iron guarantee of zero-risk.”
   Before pesticides can be approved, various risk assessments are supposed to be
    carried out to provide evidence that it will not pose an unacceptable risk to
    human health or to wildlife.

   European Policy and UK Policy – no adequate risk assessment for people who live
    near heavily sprayed fields – The only risk assessment undertaken is the “bystander
    risk assessment.” Bystanders are not legally defined either in national regulations or
    under Directive 91/414/EEC, although the latter specifically refers to bystanders. A
    working definition of bystanders has been developed but the model is dangerously
    inadequate and bears no resemblance whatsoever to the sort of exposure scenario
    experienced by people who are actually living in these sprayed areas, 24 hours a day,
    every day. Therefore immediate action is required from both British Government and
    in European legislation as public health is not being protected from the high level of
    risk inherent in the spraying of over 25,000 tonnes of agricultural chemicals on
    British farmland every year.
   Breach of Human Rights – The current registration system/authorised use of
    pesticides is posing unacceptable risks to human health for those living in agricultural
    areas and is a breach of Articles 2, 5, 8 and Part 2, The First Protocol-Article 1 of the
    Human Rights Act 1998 and Articles 2, 6, 7, 17 and 37 of the Charter of the
    Fundamental Rights of the European Union

   Pesticide Regulation within the European Union – Scientific Committee on Plants
    – The SCP addresses scientific and technical questions relating to plants intended for
    human or animal consumption, production or processing of non-food products and
    characteristics liable to affect human or animal health or the environment. – The SCP
    2002 questioned the current approach using AOEL for “bystander exposure” and
    recommended Commission revisits concept – (see
    http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/scp/out136_ppp_en.pdf)

   EU’s – The Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable use of Pesticides that includes
    sections on pesticide free farming for specific/sensitive areas – I have highlighted to
    the European Commission that this is an urgent priority for people who live near
    heavily sprayed fields.

Rights and Precautionary Principle:-

   Article 6 of the EU Treaty reads as follows:-
   “The Union is founded on the Principles of Liberty, Democracy, Respect for Human
    Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the rule of law, Principles which are common
    to the Member States.”

   Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union:-
   “Enjoyment of these rights entails responsibility of duties with regard to other
    persons, to the human community and future generations.”
   Article 2:- Right to Life
   Article 6:- Right to liberty and security
   Article 7:- Right for private and family life
   Article 17:- Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home
    and his correspondence.
   Article 37:- Environmental Protection

   Human Rights Act 1998:-
   Article 2:- Right to life - Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by Law
   Article 5:- Right to liberty and security - Everyone has the right to Liberty and
    Security of person
   Article 8:- Right to respect for private and family Life - Everyone has the right to
    respect for private and family life, his home and his correspondence
   Part 2 the First Protocol- Article1- Protection of Property:-
   Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions

   The World Health Organisation’s European Charter on Environment and
    Health states that:
   Every individual is entitled to “an environment conducive to the highest attainable
    level of health and well being” and that “the health of every individual, especially
    those in vulnerable and high risk groups must be protected.”

   Taken from “Liability for damage caused by agricultural chemical drift,” by
    Michael T. Olexa, Associate Professor and Agriculture Law Specialist,
    University of Florida “abnormally dangerous activity – no one should be
    unreasonably inconvenienced or denied the right to enjoy their property.”

   Sections taken from definitions and literature on the Precautionary Principle:-
   “uncertainty should not be regarded as a valid reason for inaction.”
   “absence of scientific proof should not delay or prevent proportionate measures to
    remove or reduce threats of serious harm.”

   In the Commission of the European Communities (Brussells 2/2/00):-
    Communication from the Commission on the Precautionary Principle it states:-
   “in certain cases, a total ban is the sole possible response to a given risk.”
   “the dimension of the Precautionary Principle goes beyond the problems associated
    with a short or medium term approach to risks. It also concerns the longer run and
    the well being of future generations.”
   “to take action to avoid potentially damaging impacts of substances even where there
    is no scientific evidence to prove a causal link between emissions and effects.”
    “Whether or not to invoke the Precautionary Principle is a decision exercised where
    scientific information is insufficient, inconclusive or uncertain and where there are
    indications that the possible effects on the environment or human, animal or plant
    health may be potentially dangerous and inconsistent with the chosen level of
    protection.”