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Triggers for BSE

MagazineMay 1996 (Vol. 7 Issue 2)Triggers for BSE

In a documentary I saw, the suggestion was made that organo phasphate compounds can trigger BSE


In a documentary I saw, the suggestion was made that organo phasphate compounds can trigger BSE. In the 1980s, MAFF required cows to be treated by organophosphates for warble fly. A solution containing organophosphate compound was applied directly onto the cow's skin. Some of this goes through the skin and enters the blood stream and goes to the brain. Eventually, the whole brain can become damaged.

The Medical Research Council did finally do a test on this. The test results they got were thought to be open to different interpretations. Some scientists thought the results extremely interesting and that futher research was needed. It did look as if at higher dose levels of organophosphate there was a higher level of interaction with the brain's protein than at the lower dose control amount. For some reason, the MRC discounted this effect. Some American researchers have said that you only have to have a minute change in a brain protein to create a big chain reaction effect.

Southern Ireland used organo phosphates for warble fly at a low dose rate and there was virtually zero instance of BSE there. In Northern Ireland, the chemical was used at the same high dose rate as in the UK, and BSE reached epidemic proportions. In mainland Britain, the spread of BSE closely matched the areas where organo phosphate warble fly treatment had been imposed by the ministry.

Chemical farming affects not only farmers, but the whole community. The spread of BSE is just one part of the problem. Human beings have the same protein in the brain. We are all consumers of organophosphates. There are pesticide residues in vegetables, fruit and cereals, and thus in bread and in cattle feed, too.

We were told that other countries have restricted the use of organo phosphates much more than we have and have far more rigorous testing. And yet this last autumn, MADD were again attacking warble fly with organophosphate solution applied directly onto the cows. The programme said that we can expect renewed and increased problems with mad cow disease. J Measures, Warwick.....

Fissure sealants

No definate link between mad cows disease and CJD

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