The Organophosphate-BSE Hypothesis and CJD

& DDT and Polio

Joanna Wheatley
Harold Hillman
© Rae West 1998, 1999, 2000, 2016

Big-Lies Home Page

Note on Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia

It's probable that a lifetime's accumulation of OP or other insecticides will damage brain function. There's a balance between buying disease-free fruit and vegetables and grains, and long-term damage from residual poisonous chemicals.

This comment is prompted by TV ads in mid-2015 in Britain (including the most absurd actors and low-grade TV presenters).
OPs. Organophosphates
Illustration (left) shows the molecular structure of two ‘nerve gases’, with the general OP molecule. See technical endnotes
Snowy (something like D8496573) says: 'Don't poison me!' Overview: What follows is a very long piece (I'm afraid) in an unusual genre—a transcription of a three-way conversation, followed by explanatory notes. The B.S.E. outbreak (bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Etymologically, all this means is a sponge-like malformation within cattle heads) in British cattle, which has resulted in the slaughter of much of the 'national herd' and massive financial claims, has been attributed to protein molecules of a sinister new type which are supposed to be transmitted between cattle. From almost the start the causes of this disease (quickly and unfairly named 'mad cow disease') were disputed. The front runner in 'alternative' theories is the organophosphorus theory, mainly the work of Mark Purdey (scion of the shotgun company), himself a cattle farmer, who specifically cites Phosmet, used in high doses, and only in Britain, for the treatment of warble fly in cattle, as the cause of B.S.E.
      Purdey's work includes a lot of current theoretical biology (prions, cell membranes, receptors etc), which is probably wrong—though of course this is not his fault. Rather than give an account Purdey's work, which is available in Medical Hypotheses journal, what follows is a more-or-less verbatim conversation between Joanna Wheatley, an organic farmer and activist, who had helped develop OP insecticides at ICI's experimental lab before she turned to farming, and Harold Hillman, in my view one of the foremost critics of modern biology.
      This discussion can be read in several ways: to illustrate enthusiasm vs plodding science; the lack of time and money of critical thinkers; the way in which things which are hard to prove or disprove can expand and get out of control; the interplay of organisations and the possibilities for corruption; and even the difficulties in voluntary cooperation. This was December 1996; so far as I can tell, apart from an enquiry, things have continued unchanged. Joanna Wheatley is not allowed to sell her cattle as they are more than two and a half years old, and they are due to be shipped a hundred miles or so to be burnt.
      I've included some technical material in my end notes . Some names may be inadvertently misspelt—Rae West.

Note by Rae West : I've noticed many people have failed to grasp the connection between this site and that on Harold Hillman on biology. Hillman's work on electron microscopy is of particular relevance here: he has shown the basis on which cell biology is carried out is seriously flawed, and has no scientific support. The evidence on 'prions' largely uses the same technique and must be considered unsound unless otherwise proven. In other words, assertions about the prion causation of BSE must be assumed to be unproven. I know of no serious workers in this field (in any case, if there were any, their work would be secret under the Official Secrets Act which British researchers are usually made to sign) - 8 December 2000

BSE Inquiry (‘Phillips Inquiry’):- The website BSE Inquiry has information and court transcripts (in the style of the McLibel trial). It's a huge site (about 400 megabytes). Unfortunately the layout is very poor—for example, the contents of each day's proceedings aren't listed. The Inquiry has been largely ignored by the media—the BBC, for example, has no coverage and no reporter, despite of course finding endless money for trivia. So it seems likely the rather sensational potential findings will be buried.
      The date for the Report was extended (in February) to the end of September, 2000. It was finally published on 26th October, 2000; it is downloadable in various formats, for example as a series of PDF files totalling about 80 megabytes in Windows ZIP format. Inevitably the layout is poor.

Click here for Mark Purdey's first statement to the Inquiry (2nd April 1998) (about 38K, my HTML, on this site.)
      People naive about modern 'science' and its practitioners will be surprised to hear that Purdey's Phosmet hypothesis has not been tested or investigated, in the fifteen or more years since it was suggested.
      To assess the quality of the replies to Purdey, look at Purdey's later statements:- Statement 23A (7th June 1999) , replying to the evidence of Roger Cook of 'NOAH' (a front organisation for chemical interests), Tony Andrews, Tim Marrs, and John Tasker. And Statement 23B (12th Jan 2000), specifically and briefly replying to Mr Roger Cook.

food standards agency logo Food Standards Agency
The Food Standards Agency was set up (on 1st April, 2000) nominally to allay public worries over food in the wake both of BSE, and several more-or-less bogus scares involving eggs and cheese. It's supposed to be a sign of open government. What are the facts about this organisation?
      It has a website Food Standards Agency . It also has a 'BSE controls review' website, BSE Review . A typical quotation from this site is: 'This .. report looks at the BSE controls that are in place to protect public health.. Should the controls be lifted or remain? Should the controls be tightened or relaxed?' Note the way in which the actual science is not dealt with: such questions as: is BSE in fact reliably identifiable? What part do OPs play? How sound is the 'prion' idea? What hard evidence is there of danger to people? are all explicitly avoided.
      In pursuit of supposedly open government, the FSA held a series of public meetings, typically in hotels, which provided, in the words of J M Keynes, food for the cynic. The layout was: a series of tables arranged in three sides of a square, at which were seated about twenty representatives of 'stakeholders', a rather motley collection from government departments, meat renderers, distributors, and so on, in addition to the supposedly scientific contingent. The student of social affairs must also note the rather high female representation, possibly on the theory that women are even less likely than men to ask serious questions.
      The audiences were small; several dozen, including media people, young representatives sent by government departments to have a look, a few activists, and elderly women who'd done Open University degrees and accepted everything they'd been told.
      Sir John Krebs leads the scientific contingent. Some others I spoke to were marked by the brittle arrogance that characterises people in large organisations with very little genuine auditing, either of their money or their ideas and activities. Krebs himself is highly personable and stuck me as an attractive personality. But whether his persona would survive critical examination must be doubtful. The fact is that he and his group are as phoney as three dollar bills.
      At the time I write this I find Charles J. Krebs, then of the University of British Columbia, wrote Ecology: the Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance in 1978 though (without access to my references) I'm uncertain if this is the same Krebs, but, in any case, if you thought ecology had to do with pollutants, contamination, etc this book will set you right—anything like that is censored out. It reminded me of economic geography textbooks, in which heavily-industrialised countries are made to look agricultural, since all references to the seamy side of industry are omitted.
      He is (I believe) the son of Hans Krebs, Nobel prize winner for (I think) his work on the citric acid cycle (or 'Krebs Cycle'), which needed immensely intricate work. Unfortunately, Hans Krebs had an immensely damaging effect on post-war science: a personality clash in the 1950s, with Hugh Sinclair, put a stop to serious research in aspects of nutrition which are only now beginning to be taken up (I have an account of this episode by David Horrobin. An amusing sidenote is that the links between smoking and nutrition, and diseases such as lung cancer, have not been made; if the tobacco companies had been a bit more intelligent, they would be facing a brighter future).
Note on CJD. (Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease). There are many obvious similarities of BSE with 'AIDS' (continual scare stories, incompetent science—however, though there are good AIDS people, I have yet to find a serious critic of 'prions'—incompetent politicians, enormous waste of money, cover-ups, sacrifice of smallish groups deemed implicitly to be unimportant.) Is BSE connected with CJD?
  • The cell structure of the brains of the (very few) people with CJD is said to resemble that of cattle with BSE. Important note: I think I'm right in saying that no blind trial has been undertaken by microscopists to see whether it's reliably possible to tell normal, Alzheimer, MS, and CJD brains apart. So be wary of claims that CJD has been proven.
  • If the OP hypothesis is true, or a part of the truth, then clearly CJD might well be caused by OPs, too. This of course would disprove the supposed transmission by beef.
  • A possible analogy with polio occurred to me.

    Jim West's revisionist polio site polio (no relation to me) suggests polio may in fact have been caused by pollution, for example by DDT in rivers. (The polio virus—detected by specks on electron micrographs—appears to be widespread in reservoirs and other water supplies, suggesting that the supposed virus has never been identified reliably, despite all the repetition and hype). When doctors found polio symptoms, their advice to the patient was to rest for a day or two. If an ill person took exercise, the part(s) exercised were liable to become paralysed: a tennis player might have a paralysed or enfeebled right arm, for instance, after polio. It's not been widely noticed, but many young people who've died of 'new variant' CJD were extremely athletic, including a long-range cyclist, a medal-winning dancer, a marathon runner, and others. Possibly therefore this is another manifestation of some form of chemical pollution, including possibly contaminated pharmaceuticals (human growth hormone is supposed to be widely used, more or less illicitly, by athletes). Polio and OP poisoning were probably both caused by the effects of chemicals unknown in nature. I'd suggest suggest this may be another Jewish issue—both profit at the expense of non-Jews, and the use of poisons, being included in the Jewish system of 'ethics'. The sugar-lump polio cure may well have been a distraction; the environmental presence of DDT was well-established by the time of the book Silent Spring (1962), the same year that the 'oral sugar cube Sabin vaccine' was 'introduced'. DDT's effects may have been well known to researchers—obvious experiments would include feeding doses to (for example) rats. Probably the sugar cubes had no active ingredient at all; the important thing was to phase out DDT, or use much less.

  • Another issue is the use of animal parts (and human parts). It's been discovered, I think reliably, that human growth hormone has had dangerous or lethal effects on the people (usually young, and regarded as undersized) it was tried on. Whether this is caused by impurities is, I think, not known. Cattle parts have also been used, for example in vaccines, and the cattle included some with BSE; so that's a possible source of risk.
          The contaminated (or reaction-inducing) vaccine theory is rather popular with food scientists, who of course have some sort of vested interest in food being believed safe. There's an interesting issue here, namely the non-inspection of parts of slaughtered animals used for medical work—thyroids, pituitaries, sweetbreads, blood for serum, and so on. While inspectors may outnumber slaughterhouse workers, no inspection is made of these potential pharmaceutical products. Mortuaries have similar practices: a researcher comes in, and pays a bit of money for body parts. Some local authorities have unlicensed laboratories next to hospitals. All this despite the well-established belief that direct injections pose a greater threat than food. Preparation methods are illustrated by this quotation (from The ECK Institute ): 'Most brands of glandular products are freeze-dried tablets or capsules containing defatted organs, glands or other tissues from bovine or porcine sources. ..'
          Some questions are being asked by Phillips on these subjects. More are likely in future. (See for example Lynette Dumble on CJD and BSE CJD and BSE who looks at some other issues. Trade in cadaver parts in the USA is examined in sites such as this: Orange County investigation BSE Inquiry ).

Joanna Wheatley's summary of the effects of OPs for the Central Science Laboratory workshop on research on OPs.

    Prof Frank Woods chaired a group (from the 'Committee on Toxicity', COT) which produced a 250-page report (see e.g. Times , 27 Nov 1999.) It 'reviewed all the epidemiological evidence collected by others. It undertook no research of its own, and its study was limited to low levels of exposure .' (My emphasis). The process of going through the official literature is known as meta-research; it has the huge advantage of being conventional and safe, since published material is usually supervised and censored. Unsurprisingly, the Woods report said little, at least judging by press reports.
    (Compare research into 'poppers' and their relation to 'AIDS': a study into this looked at low exposures, completely ignoring gays' use, inhaling very high concentrations).
Soil Association website. Soil Association The Soil Association, founded soon after the end of the Second World War, is one of the oldest organisations of its type in the world, if not the oldest. New site, OPs R US , by an ex-farmer, chemically affected by pesticides, who has been and is fighting his position with great tenacity.OPs
Click for e-mail from Mike Kelly , from Australia, on this site. He outlines the growth of use in OPs on sheep, and some of the politics and money. (It's short—about 5K). OPs, sheep, asthma, brain damage in Australia

August 2000 'Healthy Eating' has an article by Fiona Griffiths Joanna Wheatley: .. A chap from the Royal Microscopical Society was here yesterday. .. [Vyvyan] Howard
Harold Hillman : From Liverpool, isn't he?
Joanna Wheatley: Yes. A very famous stereologist. Now what do you think of that?
Harold Hillman : I asked him, if you look at the endoplasmic reticulum.. you don't see it in three dimensions.. in one of my books I showed you should see it.. when I said that, they said, well if you tilt the stage .. I said well if it was a three dimensional image you wouldn't have to tilt it! This stereology, the thing doesn't follow..
Rae West: He's hostile is he?
Joanna Wheatley: He's actually a jolly good chap. He's done the Benomyl [fungicide] case. Anophthalmic babies. Babies born without eyes, when the mother is exposed. He was an expert witness in America. Won quite a few million off Du Pont. One has to sometimes just step back and give credit where credit's due. I knew that Benomyl was—I remembered the LD50s on Benomyl. When we did the LD50s on those organophosphates [this work was at ICI's Jealotts Hill research station—RW] they're all toxic, they're all carcinogenic. [JW asks me to correct this: not all appear to be carcinogenic] But what we went for were the ones that were less carcinogenic..
Harold Hillman : Let me ask you this. Most LD50s are done on rats and mice. You can't do them on cows and sheep and horses, they're too expensive. You actually don't know the species variation.
Joanna Wheatley: Well my argument with the pesticide, there are many things that need to be done, but the argument is, when they license those chemicals, the only information they have about human effects really are either stuff on soldiers which they haven't released, but the other thing is effects on the work force.
Harold Hillman : In terms of what? Absences from work?
Joanna Wheatley: No. In the case of ICI as soon as you went there they gave you cholinesterase testing. So they got a baseline for your cholinesterase in the blood and then every two weeks
Harold Hillman : How do they measure it? Just breaking down acetylcholine? Radioactive method presumably? So they measure the cholinesterase as soon as they arrive?
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh. We were on a screen. The chemists make up what they think are active ingredients. We were on the entomology block..
Harold Hillman : Just a minute. You get there and they measure the acetylcholinesterase in your blood. How often do they do it? Because I imagine it would vary quite a bit..
Joanna Wheatley: They used to do it every couple of weeks.
Harold Hillman : I see. And how much did it vary?
Joanna Wheatley: I can't remember the figures; I never bothered with it very much. But when you dropped below a certain level they would actually take you off working with organophosphates.
Harold Hillman : I see. It must have been the acetylcholine that they measure.
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh
Harold Hillman : So when the acetylcholine goes down, that means you haven't got enough cholinesterase. So when it goes down they take you off. Did it happen with most people, that it went down?
Joanna Wheatley: Working with the entomology screen, yeh. But all this is in the submission that I made to the Select Committee. I mean all this has been known. It's always been stated as the method by monitoring human health. And it's always been stated that these are cholinesterase inhibitors and that anyone, and it'll say it here, that anyone using organophosphates other than occasional garden use should be monitored with occasional blood testing and the procedures are laid down in this document.
Harold Hillman : Let me ask you. Suppose I've got a big garden. I use organophosphates as an insecticide.
Joanna Wheatley: I don't use them.
Harold Hillman: Well, no. If you did.
Joanna Wheatley: Yep.
Harold Hillman : I spray my plants three, four times a year?
Rae West: Once a year. I knew a medical man who did his garden every spring. He got Parkinsons..
Joanna Wheatley: I don't know. Exposure, you could have a Vapona strip hanging up, you could spray your roses, you could come in and spray the dog then. Or a fly spray. They are coming off the market, they are slowly withdrawing them. But we've had a horrendous situation.
Harold Hillman : There are a large number of them, aren't there.
Joanna Wheatley: 65% of the insecticides used are organophosphates! There are 300, 400 insecticides..
Rae West: It's all empirical; like bloodletting..
Harold Hillman : A lot of people use them. Now, how have you connected their use with disease? I mean, I know in the literature, that organophosphates can cause all sorts of lesions in the brain, for example. But that doesn't necessarily tie them. What's the experimental or observational evidence that ties this high amount of use with mental disease or Creutzfeldt-Jacob or mad cow disease?
Joanna Wheatley: Well, basically, there is a raft of literature that tells you that these symptoms will occur. If you start looking. But historically they've occurred as we've increased the use of organophosphates. Now that is circumstantial.
Harold Hillman : Yes
Joanna Wheatley: And until someone quantifies that.. here we go, this is the number of things coming on the market, this is the number of children suffering from..
Harold Hillman : Well, what diseases are you talking about?
Joanna Wheatley: Well, you've got various rafts of diseases. The first line is that after an exposure, it can be as much as—well. A farmer will tell you, when he sprays, he will get a god almighty headache, and he always does. You will see that I did a little survey [of 13—RW] of our local farmers. They all said they were affected. I mean I've got much more detail. 60% of them had asthma and 60% were suffering from depression. That was on that day that I took that survey.
Harold Hillman : 60%? that's enormous!
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh. That's pre-BSE. That's 1993.
Harold Hillman : Are you actually suggesting that 60%..
Joanna Wheatley: Yes. 60% of the farmers who used organophosphates. We had one organic farmer there and I don't think he reported anything. I think he reported a problem in the past using something. I've got all the details
Harold Hillman : Therefore over the country there must be an enormous number of people who are farmers.
Joanna Wheatley: Oh yeh.
Harold Hillman : Have you been in touch with Farmer's Weekly and so on? Or do they not want to touch it?
Joanna Wheatley: Oh yes. It's all on the roll.
Harold Hillman : Everyone agrees?
Joanna Wheatley: Well, no, not everyone agrees. I've been at it since early 1993 and I don't write much for publication; I haven't got the time. I'm constantly giving out information to people who want to know. But they will publish. When I first went in I met a problem which I mentioned to the NFU [National Farmers Union] which is that our farming press is controlled by the advertisers
Harold Hillman : Of course it is
Joanna Wheatley: And they want to read the editorial before it's published. But having made the statement quite openly to the NFU, had it refuted by the NFU, and then sent them substantiating evidence, something must have been said in higher circles. They let a bit more out. One of our problems, as you know, is we don't have the amount of research done on natural situations that we should do. All the money that's available for research is controlled by the companies, and they will tunnel the vision..
Harold Hillman : That's right
Joanna Wheatley: .. scientists to furthering their cause. What we've actually achieved over those years is an awareness among farmers. Now what we were able to do is go out, talk about this, first in meetings, then on radio and television and so on and so forth, but farmers will sit there..
Harold Hillman : They're very cynical people, farmers.
Joanna Wheatley: They are very cynical. And you ask why!
Harold Hillman : No, no. I know why.
Joanna Wheatley: The funny thing is they have been stunningly abused. The way I approached it is—because I'm an organic farmer and a woman farmer and a small farmer it's very difficult for me. All organic farmers have been written off as wacky. So what I did was I got elected to a post in the NFU, which was Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. The chairman there, old boys and so on. And you just stand there and say, chaps, I just want to tell you about organophosphates. This document here says, and this document here says.. I know you're going to say I'm a scientist. I'm not a practising scientist. Now, this is the Queen's English, and you can understand if I read it to you. And you'll understand more if you read it yourself. And we should never have used these without proper surveillance. We don't have the surveillance. And furthermore they were aware—when you throw it out to people they start listening. The main problem was we had blocking of the symptoms being recognised.
Harold Hillman : By who?
Joanna Wheatley: By, in the case of the sheep dip, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate licensed the chemicals, and within that they have the Veterinary Products Committee. And these are a bunch of wise men who decide what's fit to license and what isn't.
Harold Hillman : Are they all farmers?
Joanna Wheatley: No, they're all vets. Every single one of them. Furthermore every single one has consultancies, research moneys etc. with all the chemical companies. CIBA-Geigy, and all the rest of it. And they'll say, well we need to have that to keep on top of the technology and keep well-educated, you know all the arguments. So these chaps, these vets, that was it. Now the surveillance. There was no blood testing, nothing. If a farmer decided he had an adverse reaction—now you've got to think, it's delayed—no farmer's going to go to the doctor to say it's given me a headache. It's delayed. So further on down the line, I don't know who were the first to twig what was going on -
Harold Hillman : Let me ask you this. Supposing I sprayed today I might get it three months later; is that right?
Joanna Wheatley: Six weeks.
Harold Hillman : If you measured my blood organophosphates at that time, when I got the headache, would it still be high?
Joanna Wheatley: That I don't know. I think you should be measured almost within days of having used them. I think when you see the dip, you're not seeing the effects. You know the cholinesterase stops the transmission of the message -
Harold Hillman : Well, I know that's what people believe!
Joanna Wheatley: I'd like to challenge every avenue of science but you've got to hold on to a certain amount otherwise you get no sympathy anywhere!
Harold Hillman : Yes yes, I know that's a common view
Rae West: It does seem odd there should be such a delay
Joanna Wheatley: We're talking about biological pathways. the reason organophosphate is so brilliant from the farmers' point of view, is you put it on and it goes into every cell of the body. There is no placental barrier.
Rae West: Is that true, that any small molecule will filter through?
Harold Hillman : Yes, that's broadly speaking true. But I mean it's an experimental finding—it's in the lambs as well.
Rae West: How long does it take?
Joanna Wheatley: Well, in the case of cattle it's present for three months. There's no point in going into the gnat's ear of a pathway, because someone will say, that's wrong, you haven't measured something properly. So you have to say, we've done this, we're all sick! Furthermore look at the correlation between that and the incidence of BSE
Harold Hillman : Actually, you see, if we look at diseases in general, there are very many diseases, and treatments, which have delayed effects. For example addiction takes several days to achieve. If you have a person with manic depression, lithium takes three or four weeks, although they've got high levels at the beginning. If you take BSE or AIDS you've got months—assuming they're caused by these agents. I mean there are lots of examples.
Joanna Wheatley: Again we're back where we were with electron microscopy. What you're looking at is a living situation, and when you're working with organophosphates is they're moving around, they don't stay where they were. They were picked up, because unlike the organochlorines, they do break down. But of course I personally and intuitively believe that in the breakdown process they're in the cells, they're probably dancing around the DNA, and they're probably pushing in parts of the immune system -
Harold Hillman : These are all hypotheses. I'm not saying they're wrong -
Rae West: Harold, what was the point you were making about delays in diseases? The examples you gave were all peculiar ones -
Harold Hillman : What I'm saying is this. If we were to do a dip today, then presumably if you measure the organophosphates in the blood, tomorrow, they'll be high; and they'll remain high for how long, do you think? Someone must have done this, surely?
Joanna Wheatley: Funnily enough, all that's been done, I mean there's not a lot been done on humans, at all.
Harold Hillman : I see. that would be a very important -
Joanna Wheatley: I'll dig out a paper in a minute by ?Blane who's now on this VPC so you can see the structure and how the structure went wrong. ?Blane, because a lot of the argument has been that the farmers hadn't dressed up properly -
Harold Hillman : You mean they hadn't got the right hoods and gloves -
Joanna Wheatley: Well, yes. For a start they were told to wear rubber gloves. Then they were told to wear rubber gloves and an apron. Then they were told to wear rubber gloves, aprons and leggings. Then they were told to wear waterproofs. Then special types of waterproofs—you know. Now they're told to dress like spacemen.
Harold Hillman : But, you know, even a mask wouldn't protect you from inhaling it.
Joanna Wheatley: Well, no. We tried masks, we all wore masks at ICI, and they tried to get us to wear respirators; you know, the -
Harold Hillman : Well, respirators should protect you
Joanna Wheatley: Well, a respirator with an oxygen tank. I mean that was discussed but then -
Harold Hillman : Too uncomfortable, yes
Joanna Wheatley: So we all wore face masks. But we all said no, we wouldn't use them. We couldn't work in them.
Harold Hillman : You can't breathe, yes. But even a face mask, I mean it actually gets the air—I'm not sure how efficient the filters are. Are they activated carbon?
Joanna Wheatley: I don't know what they were. The other thing one must never forget about when I worked at ICI was that we had before we even started two weeks solid training on how to handle chemicals. We were kitted out, freely, and the minute you walked in, you put on your clothing. It was like a—You always worked in fume cupboards. It was drilled into you, set procedures to do if you're handling chemicals. That was never ever done to farmers.
Harold Hillman : Of course it would be very complicated. And they probably wouldn't do it. I mean -
Joanna Wheatley: They would!! They certainly would! And they would now. They just never ever warned the farmers what the dangers were of handling them. Furthermore, I could show you, I mean, if you tell someone just to wear gloves, and not dress like a spaceman, they think it's pretty safe.
Harold Hillman : Yes, yes
Joanna Wheatley: Because, as British people, we've trusted our scientists. They've had the knowledge, they've been the experts and we didn't think for a minute our bloody government would ever want to poison us.
Harold Hillman : There's a slight difference again, because when you're working in a laboratory it's air-conditioned and it's a closed environment. Whereas if you're spraying sheep in a field, it's a totally different situation completely.
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh. So you would think it would dissipate and fly away. But then you're using a concentrated flow which lands on exposed skin or clothing, soaks through clothing -
Harold Hillman : Yes. But let me ask you before you go on. Supposing you use organophosphates, and you are completely kitted out. That is to say, you have leggings, you have gloves, you have a suit, you have a mask -
Joanna Wheatley: What ?Blane did, he kitted up his students -
Harold Hillman : What percentage do you still get absorbed? Do you know what I mean?
Joanna Wheatley: ?Blane actually did this with students at Newcastle University. Now whilst I'm trying to look for this, I'll go back to the VPC, because the VPC which were vets, and these farmers eventually managed to talk their GPs into saying that they're ill, and they filled in serious adverse reaction forms, which they sent back—they then had to go before the VPC. And the VPC basically said well we weren't there when you mixed and applied it. Therefore, you did it wrong and there is no case to answer.
Harold Hillman : Oh. I see.
Rae West: Are you saying the adverse report forms are not taken very seriously?
Joanna Wheatley: They just denied them. Even acknowledgement that they were ill. And the only thing that they did was they actually sent them to Guy's Poisons Unit [Guy's is a well-known London hospital—RW] and they gave them this questionnaire. Now these were people with, when you're severe, the heart goes all over the place -
Harold Hillman : Let me ask you, well, if I phone up; I've done general practice. Now suppose I phone up Guy's poisons unit and ask them what the effects of organophosphates are, what will they tell me?
Joanna Wheatley: I don't know what they'll tell you now. It would be interesting to see what papers- They were going to be sued. They had a cardiac patient and then they, I've got written down his full history. He was in the Select Committee. And it was his GP that actually supported him -
Harold Hillman : I'll just tell you, Guy's is the most important poisons unit in the country. It's been privatised actually, as usual. If for example I'm in Scotland and I had a patient who drinks some, say, GP45, they can immediately tell me what to do
Rae West: They've got a phone line?
Harold Hillman : All over the country. It's very good, actually.
Joanna Wheatley: There was a lot of criticism of that, because there was a lot of blaming plants that they might have ate. They were having such problems with them in recognising OPs and giving proper -
Harold Hillman : Did they know?
Joanna Wheatley: —they bloody well knew! If you look at this questionnaire they gave them, this was a psychological questionnaire. They were looking for psychological or behavioural problems. But, these people were going up so badly poisoned—I mean they had a situation where this chap had myocarditis. And he had it three times on the trot. And when the GP discovered it was OP, they said it was a virus. Second time he said, "it's the same time of the year, Gary. Where have you been? You've picked it up there." And the third time he'd been field spraying. And ended up, nearly lost his life, again with a massive whatever it is.
Harold Hillman : Myocarditis.
Joanna Wheatley: So the GP had sent him to Guy's and they'd given him this psychological questionnaire, and that's all they did for him, because that's about all they did to anybody. And then they didn't say anything more. He'd been referred by his cardiologist, a chap called W J McKenna. So if you've got any cardiac problems you think are chemically related, you should go to McKenna.
Harold Hillman : Let me ask you, this questionnaire, presumably you've written to them and told them what other questions they should ask, have you?
Joanna Wheatley: Oh no
Harold Hillman : Well, I would do that if I were you. That's a perfectly proper thing to do. They might have done this out of ignorance, or, you know, there are all sorts of things -
Joanna Wheatley: Well they were told in no uncertain terms—I mean they had a million pound lawsuit on them. Now if that isn't telling somebody! Because what they'd done they'd denied, I mean there's a heart patient; now they did not send back the cardiac paper. Now they had that cardiac paper, and they knew all about it. Now he found the cardiac paper of his own volition, then said, this is exactly what I'm seeing here. Maybe we're not looking. Cholinesterase is a natural pacemaker to the heart; if this man is cholinesterase inhibited, then maybe you know this is a whole-. And furthermore, this is documented. Did you not know about this documentation? Well of course I'd write back and say yes, we did know. So the thing is, why, when I'm sending you a man suffering from a heart condition, asking me if he's suffering from OP poisoning, did you not send me the relevant information?
Harold Hillman : Yes, mm.
Joanna Wheatley: I think it broke down into legal -
Harold Hillman : They didn't want to talk. Mm. But -
Joanna Wheatley: You've got to think of all the people over the years, in depths of ignorance, over this, dying. It says things like 'Do you dress in a sexy fashion?' 'Do you often do things to avoid being alone?' I mean these people were desperately, desperately ill!
Harold Hillman : Yes. My reaction to that would be to add some new questions, and cross some of them out, and send that up, and say in view of the history of this condition you would suggest they should -
Rae West: Why is a questionnaire relevant at all?
Joanna Wheatley: They're looking for psychological effects. The marginal chronic effects. 'When you have a problem, do you almost always insist on seeing the top person?' 'Has it been told to you that you have too high an opinion of yourself?' I mean, you may laugh, but this was cruelty. I mean the basic raft of symptoms are those that you see in ME patients.
Harold Hillman : But let me just ask you. Do you know who wrote this?
Rae West: It's a 1989 version. 120 questions.
Joanna Wheatley: About the kind of person you generally are. SCID questionnaire. 'It has been developed in the US to enable psychiatrists to make a standard diagnosis using DSM III. [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual—RW] This questionnaire is clearly aimed at personality disorders rather than frank psychiatric symptoms. My guess would be that it is being employed to detect associations between personality types and what has been called a plaintiff set, that is a person who is prone to complain about anything and everything. I hope this is of use to you.' So basically what they were doing is marginalising them off, into people who -
Harold Hillman : No, I think, again, you've got to be careful. There's one interpretation, which is the one that you've put. The other one is that they thought that the main complaints were psychiatric ones.
Joanna Wheatley: Garry Comber went with a straightforward heart condition. Myocarditis.
Harold Hillman : Well, yes. That's why I say it's important for somebody that takes the same view as you do to draw up another questionnaire -
Rae West: Why is a questionnaire relevant? If you go for a medical examination, you don't expect to be given a questionnaire. You expect physical examination.
Harold Hillman : Well, when you do a medical examination, if you do a proper one, I used to be medical adviser to the Schizophrenia Society of Great Britain; I used to do a proper clinical examination of them; and it took two and a half hours. Now, nobody gives a patient two and a half hours.
Joanna Wheatley: Well, homeopaths do.
Harold Hillman : Well, yes. But you have to pay them a lot of money. What you really want is to have both things. A proper questionnaire and a proper medical examination. And both could be drawn up.
Rae West: Are you sure? If you'd been bitten by a rare spider which didn't appear on the questionnaire, what use would it be?
Harold Hillman : Well, it's directed against the symptoms which you believe -
Rae West: Well, I think it's a red herring -
Joanna Wheatley: Well, I think it's going to be dispersed anyway. The poisons unit was being paid for by the VPC as well. Now, what happened was we cited intellectual corruption in the Select Committee last year. The government agreed it was intellectual corruption. It's going to Nolan.
Harold Hillman : Nolan is very good at whitewashing, I'm afraid. It's not his fault. He has so much to do. In a totally different connection, we referred whistleblowing to Nolan and he's accepted it. In principle he says whistleblowers should be given protection.
Joanna Wheatley: Brilliant!
Harold Hillman : Not that they have been. Or even that they will be. But at least he's accepted the principle.
Joanna Wheatley: I used to worry terribly about all that I was doing and all that I was saying, because the whole point, and the thing that it's been kept quiet, and most people have been too afraid to stick their heads up and say it. And I did say it. Especially living down the road from ICI there. I did bump into one of the high-up chappies there at a conference and I said to him, I suppose eventually I'm going to end up in a car crash. And he said, "Oh no, my dear, we're all jobsworths, and there's nobody here with a jobsworth to do that to you. Furthermore, he said, when we go home tonight, we're going to all eat food, and drink water, and breathe air, and we desperately need people like you putting the other side."
Harold Hillman : I must say that I'm involved in several controversies and the biggest danger is to become paranoid. Nobody's going to shoot me or shoot you. Even though I've got huge enemies.
Joanna Wheatley: There we are. This is from the OP book. .. Organophosphates and carbonates. That's the title. It costs a hundred and eighty. And there we are: cardiac effects of acetyl anti-cholinesterase. It's just so clear. McKenna found this of his own volition on finding this book. He then went back to Guy's and said "Why on earth did you not send me this, when I sent that man up to you?"
Harold Hillman : What year is this?
Joanna Wheatley: They talk extensively about arrhythmias. I've got another copy; as a GP I'd like you to have this.
Harold Hillman : If I may say so, you should write down the references.
Joanna Wheatley: I have got a family of three kids, I've got a farm to run, I have a guilt pile that high of letters -
Rae West: Looking at the dates, I guess 1988. It's a Butterworth's Proceedings thing.
Joanna Wheatley: You'll find dichlorvos is mentioned again and again. It's still used in sprays for cats and dogs. Atomised flea spray. For domestic use. Think about it. You've got kids with heart problems, you know.
Harold Hillman : If I may say so, I know this fellow Aldridge and I'm sorry to say he's a [word removed—RW]. And he's a consultant to several of the companies, probably, who manufacture it.
Joanna Wheatley: So he'll admit to this. Marrs! He's just unbelievable. What I'll do is -
Rae West: Can I just ask if you know about these two, Harold? Brian Ballantine of Union Carbide; is that the same as in Bhopal?
Joanna Wheatley: Yes. As they say, the information's there. We just don't react to it. They've done nothing wrong. It's just the scenario which we have allowed to exist which has stopped the recognition. Furthermore, our big block is that the medical profession just have not looked at what we've been using. What's on the food. On a daily basis! I mean. I've developed Pirimiphos-methyl. It's a broad spectrum insecticide which is used mostly on grain. Now when farmers use it on a field, there's a two week withdrawal period. You mustn't harvest for two weeks. Because of the residues. When it goes onto stored product, and it goes on in powder form as Actellic D, there is no withdrawal time at all. Furthermore, farmers—one of them sent me the psychiatric paper as well, because he was badly damaged by Pirimiphos-methyl. He is in a dreadful state. He's had no recognition. He pretends! He sits there and goes blue and he's making it up. "It's all in his mind." So, you know, he sent me the directions from a bag, from 1991 and from 1996. In 1991, farmers were told to 'wash hands before eating. Wear a respirator if you feel comfortable.' There's nothing about wearing gloves; there was no withdrawal time. You could treat it one day and it could go to the mill the next.
Harold Hillman : Can I ask you this question. Presumably the withdrawal time is based on studies showing the residues go away by a fortnight's time?
Joanna Wheatley: Yes. We think it's breaking down, or it's binding up.
Harold Hillman : It still might be active, actually.
Joanna Wheatley: Exactly. Now, with this Pirimiphos-methyl. What you were saying to the farmer—it's here, look. In the back. Actellic dust.
Rae West: Is this the stuff they use for bran?
Joanna Wheatley: Oh, it'll be all over everything. It's in a dust. They apply it by hand. HSE will refer you back to MS17, which says blood test, which is never done.
Harold Hillman : [reads] Harmful to fish.. waterways and ditches.. keep tightly closed.. do not breathe dust..
Joanna Wheatley: If necessary for personal comfort, wear a mask. I mean, if you like dressing up, and it looks good, well that's all right.
Harold Hillman : How big are the particles of it, do you know? Because most -
Rae West: What's this phone line? Oh, it's ICI's phone line. They're not likely to tell you -
Joanna Wheatley: If you keeled over within hours of using this, you might have used that number. If six weeks later your heart went all over the place, and it's doing 200 beats to the minute, then it's doing 70 or 30 whatever, you're not going to think, oh my god, I used that stuff, I didn't have my gloves on! Furthermore, with no withdrawal time, they thought this stuff was as safe as houses! They would have blue hands, and the kids were in it, they just chucked it over everything, it was reasonably cheap as well. Now it went from the farm to the mill. What happened at the mill? They treated it again! Then a lot of grain went into intervention stores in the 70s and 80s. You remember we had to feed the world. Instead of feeding the world we bunged it all in storage. It was treated prophylactically on a three month basis.
Harold Hillman : In what concentration, do you think?
Joanna Wheatley: All that information must be there. That stuff, in intervention stores, was treated again and again and again and again. It became unfit for human consumption. A lot of grain that was coming in—it was the millers who blew the whistle on this, because they were having problems with residue levels. Furthermore, you could have loaves of bread that sat around on shelves for years on end and never ever went mouldy.
Harold Hillman : I see. Yes.
Joanna Wheatley: It was the millers who were concerned. Anyway, the intervention stocks were checked. They were so high in residues by this time, it was dumped in Africa. Probably in food aid. It was given free. And we had back the sweepings and the gleanings, for cattle feed.
Harold Hillman : Before you go on, I want to ask two questions. When you say it's a spray, it's a dust. Is it of such a size that a mask would protect you from it? I mean, many of these masks won't.
Joanna Wheatley: Who says anything about protection? It's if you feel comfortable!
Harold Hillman : Yes, yes. The second thing is, supposing I had a bag of meal, some grain, right, if I were to wash it, would that get it off?
Joanna Wheatley: No. Because it's got inside.
Harold Hillman : I see. And presumably they know how much was in the grain, in these mountains?
Joanna Wheatley: Well, all we've got, is three people who recollect reading the fact that this stuff went out of the country and came back to Africa. We can't source it, but we need to know. What I'll do is write to Arnold. I've had it from so many sources. But the thing to do with BSE is to go back to the feed mills and ask, at that same time you were taking infecting meal down, what other sources were you taking from? Were you sourcing intervention gleanings? Were they included in these specific batches?
Harold Hillman: This is the point. When you take a batch of grain which you're going to send out, somebody must have measured it.
Joanna Wheatley: Now they've introduced a passport system. Residue levels are basically not checked, as a matter of course. There's not enough money for it.
Harold Hillman : Wait a minute. Interesting point. As you said, it can go down in the wheat or whatever, for two totally different reasons. One is that it's absorbed, or in fact it's broken down. And I think that's an important distinction. Because if it's broken down it's harmless.
Rae West: It might not be harmless if it's broken down -
Joanna Wheatley: There's a lady called Sheila who's been working on this for two or three years. She's deeply concerned about what it turns into. Because it binds up with the protein in wheat. That's why they got away with the residue levels with no withdrawal time.
Harold Hillman : Are you still talking about Pirimiphos or are you talking about some others?
Joanna Wheatley: In this specific case we're talking about Pirimiphos-methyl, because that's the primary one. The other interesting thing is we've got a lot of farmers—"I can't cope"; it's quite tragic, people want to talk late at night for long hours. But we've got a lot of farmers. Where they've become ill is not when they've done this application but for some reason when they scrub down the stores. Maybe it's water soluble; I don't know.
Harold Hillman : There's another point here. We talk about 20 grams per kilogram. 2%. Now that is in the powder. If you now approximately how much they add, what concentration do they add it in?
Joanna Wheatley: Well, that's probably on the next page.
Harold Hillman : Oh, they use it in abattoirs as well.
Joanna Wheatley: Oh yeh.
Harold Hill man : 'Refuse tips. Buildings.'
Joanna Wheatley: Oh yeh. You've got a lovely situation in bakeries. If you've got people who work in bakeries—we wanted to look at occupational exposure. In bakeries, not only was it in flour, but you have 24-hour cockroach control. Rentokil got onto us because we had one of the major supermarkets, where they had eleven employees, and nine of them had your nefarious different things. One of them had ME, the other one had an ulcerated leg, and she was told it was too much yoga or something, another one had liver problems in his twenties, he was told because he'd gone on a foreign holiday, four of them had the same symptoms -
Harold Hillman : Let me ask you this. It's a bit of a peripheral point. Suppose I've got a supermarket. How can I kill cockroaches without using this?
Joanna Wheatley: You can use lights, the zap lights, for flying insects. There are lots of mechanical methods. What can be done is pheromone traps.
Harold Hillman : I remember years ago I went to Israel, and there were thousands of cockroaches. Are there any other methods?
Joanna Wheatley: The Soil Association would be the place to ask, licensing all the processing plants etc etc. So they will have had tried and tested practice.
Harold Hillman : Because you know in the restaurants in London, an enormous percentage have got cockroaches. Probably all of them.
Joanna Wheatley: Exactly, because it's in the structure of the buildings, isn't it. My daughter lived at the back of Battle Hospital in Reading, and there were constant invasions of cockroaches. A public health inspector went in there; he said they're within the structure of the buildings.
Harold Hillman : That's right. You can't get rid of them.
Joanna Wheatley: But what we haven't done is use our ingenuity. There are lures, there are mechanical methods.
      We've got another raft of problems that are well-documented that I need to show you. The residues in carrots. They are massive. Oh yeh. What you can do with carrot fly is you put up a net. And you break crop. So you don't do a whole field of carrots. You do a line, and then you put another crop in between. In between you put a layer of netting ten inches high. the carrot root fly has to get up over the netting, misses the carrots as it comes down the other side. And it is immaculate. Trials been done. It's there. But who makes any profit? Well, the netting people. Farmers are too ingenious: they know the nets, they know the sticks, they'll do it themselves. But there's no way of getting that information out to the farmers. The whole educational process is based upon chemical use. They've been just whitewashed. It's like the Hitler youth, our agricultural colleges. Anyway, enough of Actellic.
Rae West: Reading University has a famous food science department, hasn't it -
Joanna Wheatley: Reading's, well, Zeneca and Monsanto. One chap had a tantrum with me, like a little boy, a chap, they run the Centre for Agricultural Strategy there. They've obviously been the driving force behind the Government's thinking as far as- You know, I happened to be there when we were doing a survey for farmers. And he said to me, "Well, who do you think you are to find the cause, that you would know more than us, about how to handle BSE and where it's come from?" And, I don't like doing it, but I said to him, "Look, you're going to go home tonight, and you're going to sit down at the table, with your kids. And you're going to eat food. You are telling me that we are handling, and growing, some stunningly infectious, toxic thing, that you want totally eradicated. You want to move into our farms, kill all those animals. We're telling you that we're standing here, fit, fat, and bloody healthy, so are the abattoir men, and we actually think that you may not be right. And furthermore we think it's something else that you may be seeing on the rest of the food. And do you know what we want? We want risk analysis, we want proper risk analysis. And you have absolutely, totally and fundamentally failed in that task."
Harold Hillman : Yes. They don't want to. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries doesn't want to.
Joanna Wheatley: And he said, "Well, you're talking about my job!" "Well I'm talking about bloody poisoning the nation." And he got up and walked out. Five minutes later he came back in and he sat down and he was as good as gold. Now, I don't want to be like that with them. And I don't want to have to say these things. And I don't think they've run a conspiracy. What they've run is stunning incompetence. Everyone's a jobsworth. But ultimately we've all got to bite the bullet, because, what is the point? I mean our future is futile if we continue in this vein. No matter whether you say—we can argue and argue about the nth degree about the causal—because this is the problem we have, the burden of proof. I mean we've tried to take these cases to court, and in fact this wonderful chap ?Jemal who's just resigned from the VPC—what happened with the VPC was, again through the NFU, I started making noises about the intellectual corruption. The NFU does bugger all.
Harold Hillman : Yes
Joanna Wheatley: Except, all of a sudden, bang bang bang, there's a medical panel seconded to the VPC. Lo and behold, who do they put on the medical panel? Marrs, Ballantine, all the experts that we have in the field on OPs. And basically by pulling them onto the licensing committee they go like this. So then I'm in a conference with Jemal, Dr Jemal is a Kurdish refugee. He told me he came here 13 years ago. He started working in Glasgow as a neurologist. In come the farmers, they're staggering. "I've seen this. I know exactly what I'm looking at here! Have you used OPs?" "What do you mean, OPs?" "Well, sheep dip." "Well, I've used this sheep dip." "Let me look at the boxes", and away he goes. Now he has developed a method, he's managed to obtain private funding because the government wouldn't give him any money, he's managed to find a way of measuring peripheral neuropathy. Which you'll see by the historical paper I sent you, peripheral neuropathy has been noted since the 1900s, as a by-product of OP use.
Harold Hillman : That's right, yes.
Joanna Wheatley: So he's developed his test and he's gone on. Now, what they did was they seconded him on to the VPC. And we wrote a conference together and it was when I was trying to raise this thing about intellectual corruption. And I sat next to him and I passed him this article written about them being intellectually corrupt. And he went and sat next to somebody else, and got a bit frightened about it. And I happened to be there with a chap who'd lost his son; his son had died in the most unbelievable tragic circumstances. And I just, we were standing and coffee, and I said to Dr Jemal, please forgive me, I need to talk to these other people, but would you speak to this chap. And the thing is, on a personal basis you are being presented with these people. My son, he's twenty-four, he's died in three months. Nobody looked at him, nobody did anything, nobody looked at toxic poisoning. Yet it was a classic, classic case. And they banged him in a psychiatric ward. He was having heart problems. He dialled 999 because he thought he was having a heart attack; because he's in a loony home, they say it's all in his mind! They don't even check his heart. The boy's in bed most of the time, trying to control his breathing—anyway. Dr Jemal's been there and he said to me at the end of the meeting, you know, we're among friends here, you won't use this, will you, 'cos I don't want to indict him
Rae West: I'll turn it off, if you want [gap on tape]
Joanna Wheatley: So we've gone on a long way. And dear old Dr Jemal was going to um -
Rae West: Are you saying that ICI would sue the government?
Joanna Wheatley: He's resigned. because he's going into court. He's going to go expert witness for Gulf War soldiers. Brave, brave man. So he certainly needs the protection of everybody.
Rae West: Are you saying government licensing is legally -
Harold Hillman : Yes. Once they give it to you, you become the legally responsible person. So you can't withdraw it, actually. They say we'll lose too much money if you withdraw.
Rae West: But I mean the government could presumably pay—it's not a huge tragedy if they close down their factory, is it?
Harold Hillman : No, no. It makes the government responsible.
Joanna Wheatley: And they invest a hell of a lot of money in production. So, you know, once you've invested in your production methods, and you're reckoning, OK, we have a run for three, five years before you get your money back, then you're into profit, they're saying, well, you misled us. Well, we need a complete change of that scenario. We need the fact that in a similar situation that we've got with drugs, in that you licence a chemical BUT it has limited use. It has limited distribution. You say, you can make a small amount. Furthermore, you then have to do full and extensive monitoring of the human workforce. Because we are unable to run any trials on humans, on pesticides.
Harold Hillman : But if I may say, you need to contact the Nolan Committee directly and put forward the specific proposal that no-one who's a consultant for a drug company or in this case an animal food company can be on a committee which assesses it. That's the central corruption.
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh.
Rae West: I don't think that would work. They'd say they're the experts.
      Can we discuss, was it Partington, the chap at UCL? His evidence for the transmissibility of BSE, I mean he had some slight evidence of it being transmissible. It was partly animal spongiform encephalopathies, assuming they exist, in elks and mink. So he did seem to have some evidence of transmissibility. That's contrary to the organophosphorus hypothesis. I think that's why they've ignored it.
Harold Hillman : I mean, the fact is that all these animals, both the parents and the children, will be exposed to organophosphates. So you can't easily distinguish -
Rae West: Well, he was talking about wild animals like mink. He said that if mink are fed sheep with scrapie, they develop the mink encephalopathy.
Harold Hillman : It's quite a difficult thing to distinguish, even in the wild, between an environmental thing -
Rae West: I'm sure it's very difficult. It may be nonsense. They may have collected pseudo-evidence just to support their theory.
Joanna Wheatley: Ah! Last week's Farmer's Weekly had a letter in -
Rae West: One of yours?
Joanna Wheatley: We must have a natter soon.. He's dropping a bombshell in January.
Rae West: Mark Purdey?
Joanna Wheatley: Yes. We've just got to get Christmas out of the way. I need to see him.
Rae West: I think it's right to say that Partington, and also Almond, maintain that OPs—he said in a dismissive way, they keep reminding us of this organophosphorus thing, but we don't take it very seriously, because this thing is obviously transmitted. And the evidence that he had, such as it was, seemed to confirm this.
Joanna Wheatley: Transmitted what?
Rae West: He said for example—mink being fed scrapie infected sheep.
Joanna Wheatley: They also feed mink to mink. They've treated them with OPs. In exactly the same way. Food control; lice control.
Rae West: So that's complete crap?
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh. All of them. The cats, the lot.
Harold Hillman : But let me ask you this. How can you control a cat flea or a dog flea?
Rae West: Harold, that's beside the point. If you're going to be killed by the stuff, you have to put up with fleas.
Joanna Wheatley: Fleas. Yes. Human head lice control. Now this lady is brilliant. The Bug Buster. [This is a 1995 kit—RW] Wash the hair, condition the hair, get an old-fashioned flea comb and you comb it and comb it and comb it. You need to do it the first day, the fifth, the eight, and the thirteenth. And if you do that, you break it. You break their legs. They want a national bug busting day in January. And then we'd cut the population by a dramatic amount.
Harold Hillman : I'm sure we used to use something which wasn't an organic phosphate for hair lice.
Rae West: Carbaryl?
Joanna Wheatley: That's just the same. A cholinesterase inhibitor.
Harold Hillman : We used Whitfield's ointment, which was benzoic acid, I think.
Joanna Wheatley: We used to have sulphur dips; between the wars we almost eradicated sheep scab. It's a contact -
Harold Hillman : It's not absorbed.
Joanna Wheatley: As a GP, you can prescribe the kit. So instead of prescribing the head lice kit you can prescribe the kid -
Rae West: I remember carbaryl -
Joanna Wheatley: Well carbaryl is gonadotoxic.
      Classic case. A farmer rings me up on Sunday. He says my wife is in a dreadful state. She used head lice treatment six weeks ago. We put it on twice—the whole family. But he said, she's the only one—she'd got crashing depression, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, heart's racing. It is the usual old raft that you see. Now what he can't work out is, why only her, why such a long delay? And then of course the psychiatric situation, they're telling her that she's just suffering stress. Poor woman—she's got three kids, it's been a long hard summer. You know. They're going to say, "oh it's the change, you know." Another thing is temperature control—that sometimes goes up the spout. So you may be confused or whatever. You just sit there and hope and pray it doesn't push on to something else. Because once it's onto something else, then they're actually treating a disease, but the whole initial scenario is gone.
Rae West: Tell me about biochemistry, Harold. Part of the key is how these things break down. How can you work it out?
Harold Hillman : You can't work it out. I mean, you look it up, look up papers, and probably they're not published because the drug companies -
Joanna Wheatley: You've also got other underlying factors. There's a chap in Bristol who's done a lot of work which you should follow. About the breakdown. But what appears to be going on is, that if the enzyme liver pathways are damaged, then there is a greater ability for OPs to start trekking around the system. If the enzyme liver pathways are functional, then the detox-
Harold Hillman : That's right. That's a dangerous argument and I'll tell you why. Because they normally use as the evidence that the liver pathway is not working, the fact that they get the consequences of it. So it's a circular argument.
Rae West: Unfortunately Harold is right about this stuff. If you read this sort of thing, the fact is that it's poisonous; the fact that it works is what counts. But when the theoreticians get to work, they produce very elaborate theories which their jobs depend on. And every one of these steps is extremely suspect -
Harold Hillman : I think, as you know, the biochemistry is so complicated it's better to approach it empirically. As you have. And see what incidence of disease the farmers have, and not get involved in the explanations. Because the explanations can easily be wrong. And they don't matter, actually.
Joanna Wheatley: Well, that's what we've done with the BSE thing. The two-pager I sent you there. I thought, well, whom am I to go and write to the European Parliament? There are all these scientists. But they were just ignoring the fundamental bloody point. It's like a knock-down process. They go on about sheep infecting cattle, but we feed cattle to cattle. If you're saying it can cross species to species, that's fair enough, but it must be incredibly infective already within it's own species. And we fed cattle to cattle. So why even bring in sheep? You've got enough there in the first place. But it's some guy hanging onto a job down in Compton -
Harold Hillman : You can't exaggerate. They have difficulties, because, as you know, they fed sheep to sheep and cattle to cattle and all these things, before they suspected that it might have an adverse effect. It was just a way of giving them more protein.
Joanna Wheatley: It was recycling as well. It was going on for an awfully long time before we had any problems.
Harold Hillman : That's right.
Joanna Wheatley: And it's going on all over Europe, all over America, and lots of other countries in the world. And this thing about the solvents. We had letters from ? in the industry saying the temperature went down during the three-day week—remember the three-day week?—we kept having electricity problems, back in Heath's time. That's when the temperature went down, not in the 80s. So the temperature went down, and the solvent went down a lot earlier than they said, because they kept running into health problems with the workers, and the economics of it. Solvents went out as well. And this was written by a doctor so-and-so who had worked in the industry since the early 1960s and he's writing to [inaudible] saying, you cannot say this, these things you're saying are wrong, this didn't happen at this date, I worked in the industry, this is when it happened. But the disinformation the government, went out and then people catch onto it and take it on board -
Rae West: Can I put this to you and Harold as well? CJD. If encephalopathies cross between species, you'd expect this with man. So people who are occupationally exposed, like slaughtermen, people in the ox head industry and so on, renderers, and compound feed makers should have lots of CJD. But there's none of it. On the other hand, we do have teenagers not connected with these industries who live in the shadow of chemical manufacturing plants and so on. Do you find that a convincing argument?
Harold Hillman : I want to ask you about that. Is it a fact that for example slaughterers and millers have higher incidences of these conditions?
Joanna Wheatley: No.
Harold Hillman : Why is that?
Joanna Wheatley: There are no cases, there has not been a case of new strain CJD in a farmer, or anybody—the only occupational exposure that's been found is in one of the cases, one of the girls worked way way back for three weeks in a butchers.
Harold Hillman : Yes. Millions of people work in butchers.
Joanna Wheatley: They've got no slaughterers, no renderers, no occupational—furthermore, four farmers got CJD in the last year. None of it's new strain. Not one of them's new strain.
Harold Hillman : So your hypothesis is that it's organophosphates which case CJD, is that it?
Joanna Wheatley: Yes. No, not CJD. This new strain. I think Harold possibly what's going on is that these things are so mobile in the actual body, is that you've got underlying existing disease, it's there. But what it's found is triggering up these strains, slight mutations of an existing diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis -
Harold Hillman : It's an interesting hypothesis, but unfortunately it's impossible to prove.
Joanna Wheatley: Exactly, exactly. So we have to go back to -
Harold Hillman : You're quite right. The best things are empirical observations. Because all the theories are—you know, they've all got weaknesses. And also people can discredit them, even if they haven't got weaknesses. They just say it's only a theory. What you have to do is go down the basic thing: if 60% of your sample are farmers, what you really need to do is to get a faculty of general practice to do an epidemiological study of farmers and this condition.
Joanna Wheatley: Yes.
Harold Hillman : Without any hypothesis. Do you understand what I mean?
Joanna Wheatley: Your talking abut the depression? Or asthma?
Harold Hillman : No, no. You have listed the effects of organophosphates. Or not you have, the authors of these papers. So you need to get a general practitioner or an epidemiologist to do a study of farmers in respect of those conditions.
Joanna Wheatley: That's just exactly what I've asked for.
      I've actually changed vets now; I had such a row with my vet. He knows about the OP thing and he can see it with his very own eyes; I'm just one farm around here. He never comes here. And you know the proof of the pudding—in the old days he did a few bad calvings for me, and I wouldn't let him put any stuff on it, an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory, an anti-this, an anti-that, you know, of course they're not allowed to do any of those. He tried the old blind of you know, I'm going to make my animals suffer and die, and I was a wicked nasty old organic farmer, all this suffering and ill-health I was going to cause, and proliferation of pestilence and ill-health, but anyway after he'd come a couple of times and seen the cow six months later in absolute strapping fine condition, and then came to do the TB testing next year, and finding a beautiful calf to boot, he had to back down. So he had to back down.
Rae West: When you say he had to, did he actually?
Joanna Wheatley: No. 'Cos he kept on peddling his drugs. I said to him -
Harold Hillman : They make money from them
Joanna Wheatley: Exactly. I said to him, I don't know how you can bloody well sleep at night. Really. You are selling Novantop, over the counter, which is an atomised flea spray, and it's got dichlorvos with ventriothion. Ventriothion is a potentiator of OPs. There's the cardiac paper, take it away with you. How can you do that? To unwitting people? He said "Oh, 60% of our money comes from drugs. We can't give up drugs. Basically, we wouldn't be there at all otherwise."
Rae West: It's like chemists shops where they sell all these, make money out of patent medicines -
Joanna Wheatley: I give up with them. You do get to the point of despair, to be honest.
Harold Hillman : We never tried this abdominal pumping on calves, because we never had the opportunity to do so. A calf is much more expensive than a sheep. How much is a calf worth?
Joanna Wheatley: Oh, you can get them for thirty quid.
Harold Hillman : Really?
Joanna Wheatley: Well, most of them are slaughtered now. Oh, wait. They must be pushed up to 120 by now, because you get 120 if you put them in for compulsory slaughter, which is what all the dairy boys are doing. Unfortunately.
Rae West: The chap at Reading told me, lots of cattle, if they've got magnesium deficiency, get classified as BSE, so they can claim money.
Joanna Wheatley: No, you know that that can't be true. In the case of BSE, the vet makes an initial diagnosis, and he confirms it at a later date. And the animal is then sent for incineration and the head is cut off. And it's sent for -
Harold Hillman : Histology
Joanna Wheatley: -to confirm that it's BSE. All of a sudden, in the last year, it's dropping, so they're only getting 30% accuracy. So what the media have got hold of, its there's another new disease coming. In fact, I must get the actual terminology. I ought to ring the DVO. Basically this guy came out with this big long name. A description of what we're seeing. It's lesions, mostly in the brainstem.
Harold Hillman : When you say 30% accuracy, what you mean is, that of 100 cows who had BSE, only 30% showed the lesion, or is it the other way round?
Joanna Wheatley: No. The other way round. 100 cows. Up until last year, they had 95% confirmed cases. They clinically had it. The diagnosis was only 5% wrong. So that's that. Then you've got -
Harold Hillman : But if I may say, when you do histology you can easily miss an area -
Joanna Wheatley: Well, whatever methods by which they're doing it. But within the last year that's started to slide -
Harold Hillman : So what you mean is that 100 cows have got it, but only 30% show the histology?
Joanna Wheatley: No. What I'm saying is a vet comes along, and with a visual diagnosis says this animal has BSE.
Harold Hillman : That's clinical, yes.
Joanna Wheatley: Then it's sent off for confirmation. Until a year ago, 95% of them were then confirmed as being BSE. The remaining 5% were something else. In the last twelve months, we've had a steady rise in the non-confirmed cases. Instead of being 5% it's now running at 30%. So 70% of the diagnosed cases are BSE confirmed.
Harold Hillman : By histology, yes.
Joanna Wheatley: The other 30% is now being classified as something different. Now whether that is down to the histology becoming more accurate, whether that is down to farmers getting this new disease, we don't think so. One of the major things is there is a rising incidence of brain tumours. And that's been rising across the board. And that's reflected in our children as well.
Harold Hillman : Well, brain tumours would have a completely different lesion. They wouldn't have vacuolation.
Joanna Wheatley: Fine. Well, that's what they're picking up when they do the test. Obviously, when you're doing a visual you can see that something's got a brain diseases. So then there has to be the clinical confirmation. The clinical confirmation has been running absolutely steadily at 95% until about a year ago. Then all of a sudden that's really started to widen and they're seeing a lot more tumours and what they say is this new diseases, and they've termed purely the collection of symptoms that they see. And they are brain lesions in the brain stem.
Harold Hillman : That's a different area, isn't it.
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh. My mother had brain stem lesions and they put it down to chronic multiple sclerosis but nobody ever dies of multiple sclerosis. They took two months trying to write a death certificate.
Harold Hillman : When you say no one dies of multiple sclerosis I'm not sure if it shortens their life or not. It probably does.
Joanna Wheatley: It certainly shortens your life. But usually you die of something else, because your body's not fit enough to fight it off. In her case they said it was a terminal epileptical fit due to multiple sclerosis. But next door had sprayed only five days beforehand. When they started to look, they found all these problems with the brain stem that weren't consistent with multiple sclerosis -
Harold Hillman : I'll tell you a thing which is interesting. My recollection of multiple sclerosis is the histopathological lesions in multiple sclerosis aren't very different from organophosphate ones. I think that's right. This man who I worked for named John ?Kavanaugh, I'm sure he was looking at the lesions in the brain after trials of ?diecyl phosphate.
Joanna Wheatley: Demyelination.
Harold Hillman : Demyelination, that's right. Which you get in both cases.
Joanna Wheatley: Well, it's right across the board with the OPs. But what they're saying with MS it's demyelination of the spinal column, as well.
Harold Hillman : Both, that's right. You can get it mainly in the brain, or mainly in the spinal cord; or both.
Joanna Wheatley: I've had a go at them. But I mean one of the first chaps I ever ran across- 'cos Mark Purdey sent me his paper a long long time ago and he asked me to get the NFU to back him to push the government to get proper research done on the OP theory of causal factors with BSE. And the chap round the corner's a shepherd. And he came round. He was making my hay. And I said, because he's a shepherd, I said "for Christ's sake James, bloody be careful with this damn stuff, it's just everywhere, it's rife, for god's sake listen to me, I've got this paper, I spilt this stuff on my hand and I was bloody ill." He said "My uncle Hughie, he's professor of neurology at St Mary's. He might have a look at it for you." I was worried that I could follow Mark's science, but my knowledge isn't sufficient to challenge him. So we sent it up to uncle Hughie. Uncle Hughie's on the phone the same day. "Who is this bloke Purdey? What do mean, he's just a farmer? How can he write this?" So I said, "you're saying the science is good?" So he said, "Well, well, let's get this clear, there's merit in what he says. And I now realise they use these OPs in sheep dip, and you're telling me you've used them on cattle; is there anywhere else you're using them?" So I said, "65% of the insecticides we're using are OP-based." Complete silence the other end. "But these are known neurotoxins", he said. "I've been looking at OP papers, thinking they only pertain to workers at Porton Down." And he said, you know, this was, he helped me set up the survey.
Harold Hillman : What was his name?
Joanna Wheatley: Professor [name witheld] He'd done MS. He said to me about them being psychotropic. You know, "If you're asking me whether they'll trigger emotional feelings, he said, 100%. We know that. We know their properties. They're well documented. Imagine if I told you now your parents had died; imagine how you would feel. Sheer rush, a chemical reaction in your brain. If you're asking me if OPs will do that, oh yes. Specific ones will do it more than others." So I've concentrated on the suicide thing and behaviour in farmers for quite a while. Because he also said to me: "You must have it absolutely 100% clear in your mind to start with. This multiple sclerosis has got nothing to do with it. I've been looking at multiple sclerosis for forty years and I can tell you"—closed shop there! But he's admitting to me for forty years looking at a chronic degenerative disease involving demyelination and here we have a whole bloody raft of stuff that demyelinates and he has not looked at those papers. Because as he rightly says he thought they only pertained to workers at Porton Down. And when I look again my situation—I must write to the multiple sclerosis society. My mum had it. The farmer's wife down the road had it. In between him and us are a farming family where the father died at 51 of a heart attack, the mother has a degenerative disease, the daughter has a degenerative disease -
Harold Hillman : Can I just say this while I remember. Rae mentioned to me that you thought there was a higher incidence of multiple sclerosis amongst farmers. Now that's a very precise question and someone either has or should investigate that. An epidemiologist. That would be a relatively simple thing to do.
Joanna Wheatley: Absolutely. One of the things I wanted to do was write to the local neurologist who saw my mother. Could you not just do this with the patients who come in?
Harold Hillman : No. It wouldn't be a statistically valid sample.
Joanna Wheatley: Right. Because what we need—I've got a lodger who stays here. He's got a friend who has multiple sclerosis. So's his mum. Farming family. They're no longer in farming; they had to give it up. I gather at school, my daughter starts, I'm so glad she's made friends, we're from a farming family; we don't farm any more, we've both got multiple sclerosis. And I'm like, I don't want to hear about this!
Harold Hillman : You see, a lot more people have got it than know they've got it.
Joanna Wheatley: What I said to Dr Jemal, look, listen to this, basically, what I wondered was going on is misdiagnosis. Because we know that ME is absolutely, OP poisoning. I don't care what anybody says. ME, basic ME, is a toxic buildup of some sort.
Harold Hillman : Well, ME is different from MS.
Joanna Wheatley: Absolutely. But diagnostics, you see. What's happened in the past: put yourself in a GP's situation. You've got somebody coming to you they're going, very very bad ME, like these patients. To the point where muscles go into contraction. I don't know if you've seen these ME patients. The muscles have gone into contraction and all the rest of it. The guy can't get the full diagnosis for MS. He can't get whatever. If he classes that person as ME, that person is classed as a malingerer. We're only just beginning to break that. If he's classed MS, bang! He's straight into all the benefits, acknowledgement that he's got a proper illness, the whole raft of benefits comes on board -
Harold Hillman : Let me suggest there are two observations which need to be made. One is the incidence of multiple sclerosis among farmers and non-farmers.
Joanna Wheatley: Farming families.
Harold Hillman : Together with the levels of organophosphates in their blood.
Joanna Wheatley: They're all broken down.
Harold Hillman : Oh I see. Well, you get a history of whether they'd been in contact -
Joanna Wheatley: You're saying if they've been in contact with it. As I said to you, 65% of the insecticides we now used are OP based, everyone's exposed to them!
Harold Hillman : There are two different things I was going to say. One is that you need the epidemiologist to examine the incidence of multiple sclerosis among farmers. The second thing you need to do is a totally different set of observations, that is an epidemiological study of how many people with ME
Joanna Wheatley: Myalgic encephalomyelitis. It's lesions of the brain stem
Harold Hillman : Well, that is still open to doubt.
Joanna Wheatley: Restriction of blood flow to the brain.
Harold Hillman : This is an hypothesis
Joanna Wheatley: It's been measured. Oh I see, you don't -
Harold Hillman : It's a hypothesis. Anyway, it doesn't matter. The second thing you need to do is a proper epidemiological and statistical study of the possible exposure to organophosphates of people with ME. That's a totally separate thing. And both of those, if they haven't already been done, or initiated, they'd both be very useful. Now as far as the first one, the Multiple Sclerosis Society might be prepared to. As regards ME, there's now an ME association which collects money for -
Joanna Wheatley: There's two or three, actually. There's a lot of infighting.
Harold Hillman : There always is, with charities.
Joanna Wheatley: Charities- that was quite an eye-opener to me.
Harold Hillman : Oh, well.
Joanna Wheatley: I thought MS was -
Harold Hillman : There were two MS Societies, and one of them collapsed recently. The one that collapsed—someone had a theory that hyperbaric oxygen would treat multiple sclerosis. They collected a lot of money and they got hyperbaric chambers all round the country. And they found, it sometimes subjectively helps a few people immediately. But, they're very expensive, the chambers, and it didn't have any overall effect. And the society collapsed, because they'd got these hyperbaric chambers, and then no-one was persuaded they worked. The other one, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, was much older, might well, if you pointed out that both Multiple Sclerosis and OP exposure are believed to be demyelinating diseases, so with the possibility that they might be related, it would be a useful thing to do a properly grounded epidemiological study of the exposure of MS patients to organic phosphates.
Joanna Wheatley: We actually have the biggest cluster in this area of MS in the country.
Harold Hillman : I'm afraid clusters are notoriously difficult. But I mean it's not impossible -
Joanna Wheatley: Well, the thing is, you get down to clusters. We're sitting right on top of the government experimental station, the National Dairy Institute is just at Sonning. And it's literally an epicentre around that. And the other one is Grasslands Research. Now Grasslands Research: they never let the milk out, except to some of the locals and some of the workers. But NAIRD let loads of the milk out, and we had local dairies in those days. But you're talking well down the line. And you're talking—again, the brother and the sister, their father, worked at the NAIRD. And incidentally the wife died of cancer. When you hit a family -
Harold Hillman : You've got to be very careful
Joanna Wheatley: - it wipes the whole lot! It's almost like they all had the exposure. But they won't all get the neurological. They'll maybe get a cancer in. Although I have got quite a few cases of farming families, the whole lot wiped out with cancers. And there's no surviving children above the age of 30.
Harold Hillman : The third thing to do would be to do an epidemiological study of diseases against people who were exposed to a lot of organophosphates, and people who were exposed to very few. In the different occupations in which they are used. For example, millers, farmers, vets, people who use insecticides. But we're talking of half a million pounds to do a proper epidemiological study.
Rae West: As Joanna points out, if people are ill they stop what they were doing.
Harold Hillman : Yes, well, there are ways, you see the exposure.
Joanna Wheatley: That's one thing about farming. We had to go back. We've had to dig back at least ten, fifteen years. Because otherwise you won't find whole families.
Harold Hillman : You don't have the records.
Joanna Wheatley: On parish records you will. The beauty of farming communities is, if you came here say and said you'd study this area, I know who those people were, and where they were. And lots of farming families were there for centuries. this is the thing. They sat there for centuries, and literally in the last twenty years they tumbled away! They've just fallen away.
Harold Hillman : There are various studies you can do—family histories, which is what you're talking about. Or incidence in people exposed to a lot and to little. That's probably the best.
Rae West: And trans-national ones
Harold Hillman : Yes, you can do countries. But we're talking about studies which will cost from one hundred thousand to a quarter of a million pounds. I mean a proper epidemiological study. If one does a bad one, firstly you won't get it published. And it's of no value.
Joanna Wheatley: Exactly. It'll get blown out of the water -
Harold Hillman : People are always doing this. The majority of studies are so bad they're not worth putting down on paper. You see clusters are a typical example. It's extremely difficult to show that a cluster's due to anything. But it suggests experiments which if done properly could answer that question. But a cluster itself doesn't.
Joanna Wheatley: Like the two boys, and the cluster with the Billingham situation. I met the father of one of the boys, and he was chief fire officer. I asked how close he was to the site; he said over there, about that line of trees. So that was that, just the one off. He was an anomaly because he wasn't from the area; he was in Bath. We hadn't realised he'd only just moved to Bath. He'd been in Bath for two years. Before that he'd been in Billingham on the north east coast.
Harold Hillman : Is that where ICI make them?
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh. But we need a parliamentary question because we've been to the VMD; the VMD don't have any records of what was made where. They gave everything back to the manufacturers and they have no power to ask for that back. We have to go for a PQ. Somebody's got to get hold of this information. You can't actually not, I mean if you haven't kept a record of what was being made where, and when, you know, what have we got in this bloody country? So he was there. Now there's a second boy up there. His funeral was in Chester-le-Street. It's about seven miles from Billingham. Now, I can't contact his parents. In theory, somebody has gone through and they haven't got a chemical background, working in chemicals or what have you. But interestingly, when Will sent me information back on fourteen cases of new strain CJD, those two boys are more or less the same age. They were in the womb at more or less the same time. The vegetarian—one of the boys was vegetarian for four years before CJD—developed the disease a year later than the Churchill boy. Hall and Churchill are the two boys' names. Was 18 and died at 19, and the other boy came a year later. There's another one come up now, a girl. But we don't know where they were born, whether they lived their whole lives at Billingham, we don't know the close proximity where they lived; this is why we want to know the geographical locations where their mothers worked.
Harold Hillman : You can only find out by asking them, because they wouldn't, I mean you could always write them a letter -
Joanna Wheatley: I don't feel that it's my place—I've dealt with enough farmers and I just know you don't contact directly bereaved people. You need an introduction either from somebody else, and then there has to be a will on their behalf to help you; otherwise, you don't do it. You can't. It's just not on.
Harold Hillman : If you get a proper research project going, that gives them the credentials to do that.
Joanna Wheatley: I've got a consultant medical chappie now and he's going to write and ask if they will submit the information. But again, for him and I understand what he's doing, he is indicting—it's like you going to a fellow scientist and saying, look, I think you've completely missed a major thing here. And I'm going to be the one who's going to expose you -
Harold Hillman : No, no, not necessarily. I mean if you ask a question that can be interpreted in ten different ways. There's nothing illegal or harmful or necessarily hostile in asking a question!
Joanna Wheatley: Mm. You see, I asked for postcodes, and there's absolutely no reason why they shouldn't give postcodes. Because that doesn't identify anyone.
Harold Hillman : Postcodes of what?
Joanna Wheatley: Of the victims.
Harold Hillman : I mean, if you've got their address you can always phone.
Joanna Wheatley: Eight were down in Kent, and five up in the north-east, and there's one anomaly. But I don't know where he is and he might be a Gulf War soldier.
Harold Hillman : You see, this is the problem. You can't do this. You're doing it at an anecdotal level. You need a proper research group, two or three people looking sat it properly.
Rae West: I think you're a bit optimistic about conventional statisticians. If they haven't noticed any of these correlations for twenty years or so -
Harold Hillman : Oh no, they often have never looked
Joanna Wheatley: You're exactly right. What Robert Will has done, who's the only person who's got the information, he's with the CJD Surveillance Unit, and he's done nothing. All he's done is look at the occupation with comparative exposure to beef. And he has done nothing—one of them is a chemical salesman. So you start thinking, well, he lived near the plant, but then he's a bloody chemical salesman! But they're not asking that. of no. We don't work in butcher's shop. We didn't do this, and we didn't do that.
Harold Hillman : Also, the question about butchers is totally irrelevant. Because virtually everybody in the country eats meat. You can't derive any conclusion from it. If you were say to ask vegans, that is a very small population, and you can compare them.
Rae West: But if you're a butcher you might be exposed to bits of animals that members of the public aren't.
Harold Hillman : No, but butchers are the ones that should be examined. Because butchers are exposed to lots of them.
Rae West: Sorry, I thought that was the question being asked. Were you a butcher?
Harold Hillman : No, what I'm saying is that a proper epidemiological study of the exposure to organophosphates and the various trades and professions which are exposed compared to trades and professions which are not exposed.
Rae West: Can I raise another question here. It's quite an important point. This is chapter 5 of your book on organophosphorus stuff. This paragraph: 'All these symptoms arise from the intense stimulation of the autonomic nervous system by the accumulation of acetylcholine at parasympathetic ganglia..' and so on. It's all hypothesis. It's presented here as though it's a definite fact and most people, including Mark Purdey, take on board this baggage and they think it's right. But it's unproved -
Joanna Wheatley: Why is it unproved?
Rae West: Oh, well. The techniques they use are things like electron microscopy and subcellular fractionation. If you're looking at these juices and things inside cells—typically you get an organ and chop it up, and centrifuge it at high speeds. The assumption is that all the bits bear the same relation to each other as they did in the cells, whereas in fact they're free to move around. And you've got for example, synapses -
Harold Hillman : Let me put the general point. You and me, we all do, you quote an authority who makes a generalisation which has been made for so long that nobody's examined whether it's true or not. And this acetylcholine story, I'm afraid, is like that. Now it's not your fault, it's part of the generally accepted body of knowledge. But unfortunately they're not always true, these generally accepted things.
Rae West: Let me give another example. The brain which Harold has specially studied. If you take sections of the brain, to look at them they go through this elaborate procedure, and they do that also with visual microcopy, with stains and so on. If you look at plaques in the brain, Harold maintains that the brain is not like that all; they're caused -
Harold Hillman : By shrinkage. Look, you've done histology, haven't you. Have you ever seen multiple sclerosis?
Joanna Wheatley: No. Well, a little.
Harold Hillman : Have you ever seen demyelinating lesions?
Joanna Wheatley: Mm, yeh, not that I can recollect.
Harold Hillman : Well, I shouldn't really say this to you, as I'm the only person in the world who believes this. But if you look at a stained peripheral nerve of the spinal cord or even brain, you see a big patch that hasn't stained. And this is called a patch of demyelination, or a plaque. If it were only demyelination, then you'd expect only the myelinated fibres not to show up. But in fact it's the whole area which doesn't stain; it's not just the myelin which doesn't show up. And I personally, I've written about this, I don't accept the concept of demyelinated disease. What I think is, for a reason I don't know, a certain area won't take up stain. And they call that demyelination when in fact it isn't.
Joanna Wheatley: But then you're saying—I mean you have to have some parameters. If you look at a healthy brain that's been ruined in the same way in preparation and staining, you know that that person was healthy, that stains up by that method, that change is perhaps diagnostic -
Rae West: There are systematic differences -
Harold Hillman : Yes, yes, that's right -
Joanna Wheatley: So you've got that as a basis. So what you're saying to me is that it may not necessarily be demyelination, but something is different to the normal brain.
Harold Hillman : Yes, yes.
Joanna Wheatley: So as a diagnostic technique, you're there to a certain extent -
Harold Hillman : Absolutely, yes.
Joanna Wheatley: So what we're getting into—at some point you have to grasp onto something before you can even talk. Because otherwise you're so down with, do you know what I mean? You have no basis on which to argue anything -
Rae West: If you look at this stuff about prions, prions are a hypothesis. As far as I can gather they -
Joanna Wheatley: Oh yes, prions, You're talking right on the edge of science here. When you go into molecular biology, it's new, how long's it been going?
Harold Hillman : About twenty years
Joanna Wheatley: We're on such new ground
Harold Hillman : It was called neurochemistry, or microbiology..
Joanna Wheatley: But it's coming, this surge on information, like gene typing of the bugs, we've got the mechanism to be able to quantify—doesn't mean to say it's absolutely accurate.
Harold Hillman : It reflects what happens in the living animal.
Joanna Wheatley: Hopefully, if we have good and proper science, which is where we're going fundamentally wrong in this country, and will bring the whole country into disrepute if we're not careful -
Harold Hillman : That's right. They're doing big science, but not proper science.
Rae West: It's not just Britain!
Joanna Wheatley: I feel like saying to these scientists, come on, little boys! Let's be a bit big and grown-up! And be honest. And if things aren't quite working out the way you thought, let's be a bit grown-up and say, well, we may have been a little bit wrong there. I think we might have to move this way a little. But they won't! They're egos are so bloody enormous
Harold Hillman : That's right
Joanna Wheatley: Oh no, I've said that! Dig hole, dig hole! I'm going to impress all my mates -
Harold Hillman : And I'll reject all the papers you send me -
Joanna Wheatley: And you can't have beer and sandwiches with me. We're all stick together and we're one
Harold Hillman : Absolutely
Rae West: I just wanted to warn about this business about the brain because it's very easy to get sucked in -
Harold Hillman : Look. Let's talk practical things. I think that one needs to first of all get somebody, preferably a youngish person who has the time, and who has access to computers and CD ROMs, to see if any such studies have been done. There are three specific studies: 1. the incidence of multiple sclerosis among farmers and their families. 2. Exposure of people to organophosphates of people with ME.
Rae West: Are you happy about the diagnosis of ME? It's such a vague thing, isn't it.
Harold Hillman : It doesn't matter. It's empirical. It may be heterogeneous -
Rae West: If Joanna's right, then ME in the country might show the pattern precisely, but then it would be diluted by a lot of people from the towns, who might just be depressed or something.
Harold Hillman : No, no, no. I mean if there's a correlation between ME and organophosphates -
Rae West: You're assuming ME can be precisely diagnosed
Harold Hillman : I'm assuming that ME is a diagnosis
Joanna Wheatley: Yes, and it's a massive raft. You just have to go with it.
Harold Hillman : You have to assume that.
Joanna Wheatley: If you listen to doctors, they'll say they think there are post-viral people, and -
Harold Hillman : They're all unproven hypotheses. No-one knows what it's due to.
Joanna Wheatley: All they're doing is looking around and saying, well this person started off with this and after was ill -
Harold Hillman : But most of us have had flu and we don't see it!
Joanna Wheatley: But also- forgive me, let me run this one through. There is a hypothesis that the infection comes in—the one thing I had at ICI was flu. I mean to the point where my doctor used to give me, along with my parents who were elderly, the anti-flu injections. Because that was how bad -
Rae West: Once a year?
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh, once a year. I used to have streaming head colds and I thought everyone in our family had weak chests and it was inherited. Now, you'll also get that- it's called dipper's flu. Farmers will tell you after the headache they get flu-type symptoms, the muscle aches, the shakes, the shivers, all that. Which could be passed off, you know as getting a virus. Now, what happens? They come to a doctor, who gives them an antibiotic, and what this guy has postulated as well is that people who've had a hefty dose of antibiotic, the natural flora and the fauna of the gut is upset, and something like candida will set in, and of course it lives on the gut wall and can make the gut wall leaky. Whereas a healthy gut, when you eat the food which has got organophosphates on, it's everywhere; apples are sprayed twenty times, which is why you see I don't eat any. But with healthy gut it'll pass straight through. But with an unhealthy gut it will go across and they're saying if their enzyme pathways are damaged—you've got a knock-on effect, for whatever reasons you'll be more susceptible than others, which is where we perhaps have the running-out of the general public, and there is definitely a sensitisation mechanism at work. Absolutely, definitely one hundred percent. It would appear that some people somewhere along the line, either they get a mega-insult or they are particularly sensitive in the first place. But once that sensitivity has been initiated then—and that's what stood out at ICI and our blood testing. Once you were prone to having your cholinesterase go down, it would keep going down. So each time when you returned to work with the chemicals, it would be a shorter time before your cholinesterase would go back down. And then you'd be rested. And you'd stay for a shorter and shorter period. But it's definitely some form of sensitisation that makes your tolerance level a lot less -
Harold Hillman : Yes, yes. But if I may say so, you're talking about theories. What you need is empirical observations.
Joanna Wheatley: Again, that's not totally theory. In that, with the multiple chemical sensitivity, it's not totally theory because it's borne out by the patients. And you can go, I could lead you probably to ten, fifteen, twenty thousand people who are chemically sensitised now. Now, they were initially started off, and now it's a building raft—they can no longer tolerate solvents. They can no longer tolerate perfume. So they've become sensitised. That's definitely a quantifiable thing.
Harold Hillman : I agree. But I mean although you're in theory right, you'd have to have such an enormous amount of money to examine that question properly, that we have to take an empirical, simple correlation.
Rae West: Let's start again. We've got the incidence of MS among families of farmers and presumably dead ones, as well.
Harold Hillman : Of course, yes. We need to find out if the level of acetylcholine, if anybody's measured it in ME.
Rae West: Are you happy with acetylcholine as a measure? I'd have thought you'd be suspicious about it.
Harold Hillman : No, there's no doubt that organophosphate inhibits acetylcholinesterase.
Joanna Wheatley: And furthermore, you've got erythrocytes as well. Every paper says it lays down erythrocytes.
Harold Hillman : Well, that's easy. You can easily -
Joanna Wheatley: If you read MS17 [Guidance Note from Health & Safety Executive] I think it says an erythrocyte test on there as well -
Harold Hillman : Well, that's all right
Rae West: Why should it include an erythrocyte count as well in your search for papers?
Harold Hillman : Well, because erythrocytes contain acetylcholine.
Rae West: Well, all right. Should that be included?
Harold Hillman : The question is, what are the levels of acetylcholine, in the blood of people with multiple sclerosis?
Joanna Wheatley: And ME. The only thing is, it will recover. Once its done the permanent damage it will recover.
Rae West: You can't test for OP residues, can you. How about looking for papers on OP residues?
Joanna Wheatley: Actually, I think your initial question, which was OP exposure. And what we need to do is ask, to you eat conventional food. Or do you buy organic?
Harold Hillman : Very few people do.
Joanna Wheatley: Exactly. You're going to say most of them are on the same exposure. And then -
Harold Hillman : No, what you have to do is get matched pairs, you see.
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh. And then ask them, have you used head lice control? Have you used flea powder on cats and dogs?
Harold Hillman : If I may say, when it came to doing the epidemiological study, you and the person who's doing it and myself and Rae and various people would have to draw up the questionnaire. But I would have thought, if you had time, or I suppose I could do it; write to these two bodies. First of all we need a literature search. Can you do a literature search?
Rae West: I could certainly try; although I find these papers repulsive because their titles are so -
Harold Hillman: No, you do a literature search, and you just pick out the ones which are worthwhile. I don't know if you've done a search. But most of them are a waste of time. For example, if you do a literature search on multiple sclerosis you'll find about ten thousand papers; nine thousand will be in Chinese, Russian, Albanian. And they won't have any data in them. And literature searches are hardly worth doing for that reason.
Rae West: I could try the Science Reference Library in Holborn.
Harold Hillman : They only go back to about 1970, don't they?
Rae West: That's true, but you can search on keywords -
Joanna Wheatley: A search on farmers health first of all! Because I bet you when you say there are ten thousand papers, I bet you'll only come up with ten or eleven! We can get background on anything that's statistically been done on farmers health and especially with psychological—if we can get our numbers of suicides over the year, if they're rising -
Harold Hillman : I'm sorry; you've got to be very careful of suicides in farmers! I mean they've got all sorts of strains and stresses, and they're exposed to all sorts of strange diseases. They're not a typical population, farmers, really.
Joanna Wheatley: I disagree.
Harold Hillman : Well, I mean if you compare the incidence of disease among farmers with the incidence of disease among lawyers or bank assistants, you'll find it's so different. I mean suicide is, I would guess, is much commoner among farmers than anyone else. Now that could be due either to organophosphates or ten other things.
Joanna Wheatley: Yes. But if we can set it back before organophosphates were used, if somebody's been collating the numbers since 1950, of the occupation against suicide, and say you know probably farmers have always been the top. And we want to know if the numbers have remained steady, against the numbers employed, so if was always 5% since the 1930s, with the depression around and all the uncertainties, we now have massive use of OPs. Whereas if it wasn't the same, if it's doubled in percentage terms.
Rae West: I take your point. But all people will say is there are all sorts of correlations—the number of divorces goes up with the number of cars on the road, that sort of thing. Anyway I've got a list of six things here: 1. Incidence of MS among farmers and their families and also people who used to be farmers, and who are dead. Otherwise you lose them -
Joanna Wheatley: When my father died, they did specifically ask occupation, and then they listed all his -
Rae West: On the death certificate?
Joanna Wheatley: On the death certificate. So it's all quantified. My father went down as chronic obstructive airways disease—he died of farmers lung. Now he didn't even have farmers lung. His doctor told him once before he died that he had asthma. he went through all the tests and he had asthma.
Rae West: It's very difficult. I think half of medical certificates are supposed to have the wrong cause of death on.
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh. He had pericardial oedema, various other things. -
Rae West: When he died, he was put down as a farmer, was he?
Joanna Wheatley: An ex-farmer.
Rae West: But if he hadn't been a farmer for twenty years -
Joanna Wheatley: I think if you're retired, they ask for your occupation before you retired.
Rae West: But suppose he'd stopped farming and become a night watchman—farming might not show up at all.
Harold Hillman : You're talking about surveys. If you want them to be successful, you have to see them face to face. If you send out questionnaires, you'll get 20% reply, totally atypical -
Rae West: Anyway; a list of six things. 1 Incidence of multiple sclerosis among farmers, including dead ones. 2. Farmers health generally over time. 3. There's a suggestion of the connection of acetylcholine with ME.
Harold Hillman : If it's been measured.
Rae West: 4. The other question is OP exposure, whether there's any research into that.
Harold Hillman : Well, actually you need to look up on your computer MS, ME, and organophosphates.
Rae West: Or they might be disguised. I wonder if there's any disguised -
Harold Hillman : And acetylcholine. It's relatively easy because you've got two keys, , haven't you.
Rae West: Yes, that's true. What I mean is, that's fine if they're honest in their titles. But if it's a researcher for the dairy board. You don't have a title that says organophosphorus poisoning, a reconsideration of modern insecticides, or something -
Harold Hillman : No, no, no. What you have is key words.
Rae West: You mean in the abstracts. I suppose so. 5. Is there evidence for what happens to OPs when they decay.
Harold Hillman : I think there is. There's a lot of biochemistry -
Joanna Wheatley: Another thing is, if you're interested, the BSE signature. You remember the talk that Almond gave. I desperately need that paper, by that woman Moira Bruce. And Almond said Moira Bruce had the other signature. Collinge or Ironside had got one signature -
Harold Hillman : What's a signature?
Joanna Wheatley: Well, this is the BSE signature, which means it is exactly the same as new strain CJD. They have exactly the same signature.
Harold Hillman : Oh, yes. There's a paper on that, isn't there.
Joanna Wheatley: There are two. What he said with this Moira Bruce was, that she'd taken sections of the brain and she'd counted the amyloid plaques and the vacuoles. And she'd cut them sequentially through the brain. And each one of the new strain CJDs was the same. And when they did it with the cows it was the same. And her graph was absolutely spot on.
Harold Hillman : Showing the number of vacuoles and the number of plaques. Amyloid occurs in all sorts of diseases. Amyloid occurs in Alzheimers -
Joanna Wheatley: Well, that's why I really do think you'd love to read that paper. 'Cos that's one of the bases under which they're saying this new strain CJD is exactly the same as the previous one. Her name's Moira Bruce, and she's up in Scotland.
Rae West: She's on that tape of Almond's talk?
Joanna Wheatley: Yes. She's at Edinburgh.
Harold Hillman : There's a veterinary school outside Edinburgh -
Joanna Wheatley: I felt coming from your perspective, and my friend wants to look at it, from his stereology
Rae West: If Harold is right, the business about counting plaques is more a matter of the way it's stained and so on, so if she's just developed a technique, it might be nothing new.
Harold Hillman : That reminds me of something which you, having done histology, will understand, that the only real histopathological criterion for BSE is actually vacuolation. It's very strange. I mean, if any other things cause vacuolation—you see there's also the real distinction between the old CJD and the new one. The pattern of vacuolation. And I'm a bit suspicious -
Rae West: Do you think it might be some artefact?
Harold Hillman : It doesn't matter, because it's empirical.
Joanna Wheatley: They'll have run they're controls through exactly the same thing
Rae West: Well, they should have
Harold Hillman : Do you see my point. There may well be other diseases which cause vacuolation. I'm sure in the literature—especially old histology textbooks -
Joanna Wheatley: I'm sure the pair of you would love to see Moira Bruce's paper. Because that's what they're basing—it's Collinge is the other one
Rae West: You mean a co-author?
Joanna Wheatley: No, Collinge wrote another paper. If you remember, Almond said Collinge saw a pink elephant going by. And then another pink elephant going by.
Rae West: I heard Almond's pathetic joke, yes.
Joanna Wheatley: Well, I mean -
Harold Hillman : Almond who?
Rae West: He's a Professor at Reading University. He must be in their food department, I think
Joanna Wheatley: No, he's a vet.
Rae West: Oh, is he? At the Quekett, they had an advert for this meeting, at which various farmers were present, including Joanna, in the audience. But he didn't have many questions—he left about five minutes. Very contemptuous of the audience—about five minutes for questions.
Joanna Wheatley: Well, if that.
Harold Hillman : People who aren't sure of their view very often have few questions, or no questions, because they want to get away quickly before anyone -
Joanna Wheatley: You find if you have a Minister of Agriculture, if he's to address farmers he comes in with his henchman, he gets on the stage, he stands there and wags his finger at everyone, and then he's whisked away before anyone -
Harold Hillman : I know. My younger brother has got a campaign against cars, you see. Not against cars themselves, but against the planning and organisation of society to accommodate them. And he's always going along and asking ministers awkward questions. And they all know him, by his first name, and they absolutely hate him! He's very persistent -
Joanna Wheatley: But that's the only way you're ever going to get there. After all these years, you know, these farmers say, Joanna, it looks like you're right and I admire your tenacity. But what they've put you through -
Harold Hillman : The majority of people don't want to know in any case -
Joanna Wheatley: You see even with the farmers health, you stand there and ask for god's sake what are we doing, what is the point of you endangering their lives and their families to such an extent—you're really making them squirm -
Rae West: People are concerned about their own health. It can't be that clear.
Harold Hillman : What it is is, they've always been doing these things, and if -
Rae West: They haven't always been doing them. It's a fairly new thing, spraying
Joanna Wheatley: "We used to use arsenic and lead and mercury, you go 'ome to your kids, your cows'll be needing you now, don't you worry about us, dearie."
Rae West: The point is, if their health has declined so much over the past twenty or thirty years, how come they haven't noticed themselves?
Joanna Wheatley: Because of the dropout. Because your actual numbers employed have dropped by more than half. I look around me. The surviving farmers are fit. The ones who are gone, like for example, over the hill, the whole family that went with cancer. He was in hospital at the same time as my dad, at the same time he was having an exploratory operation for abdominal pain. They took out his gall bladder, and there was nothing wrong with it. Now you look at the papers, abdominal pain! He had cancer. He was the major farming member, right. His wife carries on with the oldest son, who then goes down with cancer. Mother can't cope, so the two daughters live in the house. But they don't like living in the house, in a place where they lived, they can't farm it any more, so they move away. After they've moved away, they both die of cancer. That's one family. Next door to that we've got a massive great farm, big one. The bloke shot himself. Wife, like you say, doesn't want to be there any more. She actually married into another farming family and moved away. So she's still in farming. What happens now—unfortunately we don't have the huge families that we used to have. Most of us don't want our children to go into farming, because it's such a dead end business, it's such hard work and all the rest of it. And basically what for, there is no reward, we live off taxpayers money, we live in mini-historical homes -
Harold Hillman : I'm sorry to say that's probably, as you know, because there are some places which can produce it much cheaper.
Joanna Wheatley: Oh yeh. So we've been denigrated, abused, the whole system is there. The guy next door, Colonel ?Marnham, he went on till his 80s, and he used to come round on his big white horse. That was early 1970s. He died; his son inherited. His son died of a heart attack, early fifties. His nephew came, took it over; the nephew had major behavioural problems, problems with the wife, and the farm busted up. That's that one gone. The old boy over the back: his kids weren't interested in farming. He lived to a decent age; his wife's still there. But they were old fashioned farmers. they really packed up thirty years ago. Hamiltons at the back—ill health again. You know, if I look around, there's a tenth of the farmers that were here -
Harold Hillman : I think you raise a very interesting question. I think Rae should do a good literature search on health among farmers. There must be a huge amount of literature in the United States, for example. And in France and Germany, where there are a lot of farmers.
Joanna Wheatley: There's a very very good one come in from Spain very recently, because they're used to the OP thing. And I tell you where they've got it as well: there's a paper on kids. They use children in poly tunnels when they grow peppers. They're half height to save polythene. Children are the right height, 9, 10 years old. Knapsack sprayer. Suicide in kids?
Harold Hillman : Mind you the condition of children there isn't good.
Joanna Wheatley: If you've been on holiday to Spain you will find they think the bees knees of their kids, far more than the British do.
Harold Hillman : They do.
Joanna Wheatley: Then again it's delayed. It's like, you know, the farmer whose rung me, it's the final acceptance, he's ringing because he's got that acceptance. He says: but why is it only her? She doesn't put the stuff on, I put the stuff on. She doesn't go out and do the pigs, I do the pigs. So why isn't it me? So I say, who washes the clothing? Have you got it venting indoors?
Harold Hillman : Any number of answers
Joanna Wheatley: All I can say to is, it's there, I know it's there. You turn on other people, I tell other people, they go to the doctors surgery -
Harold Hillman : Isn't there an organic farmers association?
Joanna Wheatley: Yeh, yeh. But it's how much time. They're short of money. We don't get any government support as organic farmers, I don't know if you know that. I farm this way at my own financial loss. And furthermore until very recently the market wasn't there for organic food. Now what they concentrate on is money, begging letters: '.. our intention.. second half-centenary.. set about the regeneration of British agriculture, nothing less. We need 20 million households and 20,000 farmers. We believe everyone has the right to enjoy healthy nutritious affordable organic food. We know this can be produced without destruction of the countryside, use of genetically modified.. suffering animals.. etc'
Harold Hillman : Is that the Soil Association?
Joanna Wheatley: Yes. It's the licensing body -
Harold Hillman : It's been going a long time the Soil Association -
Joanna Wheatley : Yes, 1950s wasn't it. Eve Balfour. Just after the war. But they were considered like so many of these things cranks, at the time. We live in a democratic society but denigration -
Harold Hillman : Absolutely. You bring up any important issue -
Joanna Wheatley: I have that first hand with the NFU! You just can't believe the disinformation that goes about. And farmers are very honest. They're open. They're not simple—I think of myself as a simple person. We simply follow practical—we live in the real world. Not sort of great theorists. They'll come up and say, "Cor, you talk some sense. We thought you was a bloody nutter! You was talking common sense, I couldn't agree more girl!" But the word behind that comes from the hierarchy is, ooh don't touch her, she's this, and she's that -
Harold Hillman : Yes, that's right. I'm used to that. We need to do that literature search. After the literature search—the real problem is this: firstly; I'm retired. But I'm incredibly busy because I'm involved in a lot of things. I'd be very pleased to help you but we need if possible to get a department in a university where we can interest the head of department in applying for a grant. After the literature search, I think we should write to both the ME and MS societies and ask them these questions. They've nearly always got an information department.
Joanna Wheatley: Right.
Harold Hillman : Then we have to decide what to do next.
Joanna Wheatley: What we need to do for starters.. This foetal pathologist at Liverpool University ... I totally agree with him, my intuitive feeling is, we've got in-the-womb problems. This is what happened with my cattle. We're going to have a generation of cows that aren't going to have the longevity.
Harold Hillman : We'll never know! You murder them after two years!
Joanna Wheatley: Well, I don't with my breeding cattle. And I can show you, which he was here partly discussing. Those cattle—because I went organic nearly ten years ago—those cattle that had not been treated are living into their twenties; no problem. Those cattle that were born to mothers who'd been treated when they were pregnant, are not having the longevity. They're going down with magnesium, they're dying in calving, or they did. I'm now getting the strength back up again. One of them out there's got massive arthritis; she's only ten. We never saw arthritis on this farm twenty years ago! Arthritis or rheumatism. But again, she's one of the number that were treated in the womb. I don't know if this is going to be an ongoing thing, because my other stock that's not been treated that's been born to the old girls and the middle year girls are there. Now they look perfectly good and fit and healthy and I'm not having the calving problems that I had with this lot, but then I'm not treating them. But what will remain to be seen is whether this lot die out, and whether this lot that are coming on can live to the twenty years that their predecessors did. And he's agreed with that. And he's saying basic things like, how many children did you know at school with cancer? Virtually none. There were no kids with childhood cancer. How many kids did you know with childhood asthma? Well, I knew one girl with an inhaler. We had our classes of forty kids. You ask how many now—there's ten at least in each class in the local school. Same with food allergy. He's saying whether it's genetically, at embryo development, or not, something dramatic is going on.
Harold Hillman : That's another question you could ask. There must have been experiments in which animals have been given OPs and their embryos looked at.
Joanna Wheatley: For sure they've been done. I bump into a chap from Ciba-Geigy, he tells me two things. One, was for six months when they were making ?Toplip sheepdip, they produced an isomer form unbeknown to them. And when it's been looked at—I mentioned this to someone else and they're taking it to litigation. They found it was so unstable that it will flip into the isomer form at any point if it's not stored properly. It's a very unstable product. So you may be working with something completely different to what is licensed. There's no check up on that at all. There's been follow-up and it looks like he's 100% right. The other thing he said to me was, when they did the follow-up with the lambs and calves, they had white tissue disease, whatever it's called, it's put down as a copper deficiency thing—but that's not the point. If you ask any farmer, they'll say, oh rising incidence of that. Also he said—my wife's the headmistress at her local school. This anorexia. When we ran our trials, we had a number of lambs and calves who just would not eat. And he said you can't tell me that was because they were watching TV and were fashion victims. No more that they'd been abused mentally or physically and hadn't been brought up proper! You can't have that with animals. And yet it was a phenomenon they'd never seen before. Those animals would not feed. It wasn't that they wouldn't thrive; they would not eat. They didn't want to know about food.
Harold Hillman : The question would require a lot of investigation.
Joanna Wheatley: Maybe there's a psychiatric side to appetite depression.
Harold Hillman : There undoubtedly is, in manic depression and schizophrenia; you get people not eating for weeks at a time.
      Somehow or other, we'll do a literature search. I think it's a good idea to keep in touch with Vyvyan Howard. But I'll tell you the honest truth about him. He is an electron microscopist. He knows quite a lot about embryology, as you know. But his work is all about looking down microscopes. He might have the credentials to apply for a grant -
Joanna Wheatley: He's listened to me, and he can see the strength of epidemiology. And at the end of the day he's a foetal pathologist. He said if we can gain our information by epidemiology -
Harold Hillman : It isn't that. It isn't his subject. You need to get a veterinary research worker. Or an epidemiologist on this business. So we'll do the literature search, and see what turns up on it -
Joanna Wheatley: Forgive me, I've completely taken over this. I've got kids, you've got kids, what we're doing is futile. What's going on in the use of some of these chemicals—if I show you the tank mixes! I can show you letters—when we were doing the Select Committee the word went out for people to write in with anecdotes. Because there has been no system of quantifying the anecdotal evidence.
      A lady wrote in and she said, seventeen years ago, we were sat in a country house, in the drawing room, and it was a beautiful summers day, and the French windows were open. The farmer next door came along and sprayed. The spray came in the house; the fumes were so acrid that we all started to cough, and my friend closed the doors. In the evening, she went up to the farmer to complain to him. He said he was terribly terribly sorry but there was a new farm manager and he'd mixed the wrong things—ever so sorry, just one of these things. Fine. She said the farmer died unbeknown to her, he had multiple sclerosis. But within six months he'd died of a heart attack. Furthermore, in the intervening seventeen years all four of those women have developed multiple sclerosis. It's just anecdotal evidence -
Harold Hillman : It's an important fact. Because organophosphates are considered to be demyelinating, and multiple sclerosis is also, that correlation—somebody must have thought of it before and we'll find it in the literature.
Joanna Wheatley: The amazing thing about that—Those women can't prove. What else have they been exposed to?
Harold Hillman : That's why you need an epidemiologist. All right. ...

Rae West's home page


Diagram (left) illustrates the vast number of possible different organophosphates; three of the bonds can be replaced in vast numbers of ways. Chemists attempt, using standard techniques, to substitute or amend parts of these molecules. Since the biological processes when such molecules are absorbed into an organism are not known, only testing will show what properties the resulting formulation has, although similar molecules provide a guide. Phosphoric acid itself, which might (just about) be regarded as a limiting case of an OP, is harmless. The ‘organo-’ part refers to the chemistry of carbon, which is ‘organic chemistry’—it has nothing to do with ‘organic’ in the popular sense.
    Two 'nerve gases' (so called because they are believed to affect the body's system of nerves) are shown. It's interesting that VX, particularly lethal, was found empirically (I believe one man died and three were severely injured at ICI's plant about 1962).
    To illustrate state interest in all this, note that the husband of Stella Rimington (reputed to head MI5; with what truth, I have no idea) was head of the HSE (Health and Safety Executive). And The Food Standards Agency committee includes Richard Ayre, 'Deputy Chief Executive of BBC News from 1996' to 1999. He was 'Controller of Editorial Policy, responsible for the editorial and ethical standards of all BBC programme making.' In short, a professional liar. Unsurprisingly, government funding for OP research and the Gulf War is nil. [Back to start]

Diagram (left) shows the molecular structure of a typical lecithin, a 'phospholipid'. Note the phosphoric acid linking the choline and glycerine (or glycerol) molecules. Phosphorus is related to nitrogen in the periodic table; it's possible that choline is disrupted by such foreign molecules, or that OPs partly mimic phospholipids but cause damage when they behave in anomalous ways. Such molecules, never having been encountered during evolutionary processes, may cause permanent damage; rapid death is one possibility, but permanent disruption of biochemical pathways is another. Not illustrated is DNA, which has phosphate groups linking bases, another possible site for attack.
[Back to start]

This website is Note that it may be barred (for example, the Public Record Office's computers bar this site).
Taped 96-12-19. First upload 98-06-28. Purdey link 99-01-26. Phillips note 99-08-10. Woods, Rachel 2000-02-11. Polio 2000-06-21. CJD 2000-07-08. VX, BBC 2000-07-31. Mortuaries/slaughterhouses and pharmaceuticals, 2000-09-22. Soil Association link 2000-12-04. Prion note 2000-12-08. Krebs note and Phillips Report publication 2000-12-31
Transcription, HTML, notes etc Rae West.