Wales politics

MP Jessica Morden leads sheep dip health concern debate

Farmer dips sheep
Image caption Dipping sheep to control the condition 'sheep scab' was compulsory until 1992

A Welsh MP is calling for an independent inquiry on sheep-dip poisoning that left hundreds of farmers with debilitating health problems.

The use of organophosphate dips in the 1970s and 80s was the focus of a 30-minute Westminster debate led by Newport East MP, Jessica Morden.

Until 1992 it was compulsory to dip sheep to prevent the condition "sheep scab"

Ms Morden said the full scale of the problem has never been acknowledged.

Her constituent Stephen Forward, from Undy near Caldicot, Monmouthshire, explained how he suffered flu-like systems when he first starting working with the substance on his father's farm in 1979 after leaving school.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionIt was 13 years before Stephen Forward realised his ill health was linked to sheep dip

"The first time I used the organophosphate sheep dips I felt unwell," he said, describing dizziness, nausea, headaches and fatigue.

But it was not until 1991 that he linked his ill health with his work and sheep dip, after reading a newspaper report while recovering in bed after another poisoning episode.

Ms Morden said: "There have been some legal challenges over the years but, I think, part of the problem is it's not been acknowledged.

"So part of what I am calling for in the debate today is for all the papers to be released so we can look through what evidence was out there at the time.

"For people like Stephen the sad thing is that by the time he was diagnosed by the national poisons unit, it was too late really to treat him and he had to live with those very chronic conditions which have hugely blighted his life."

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites