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In 1987 the Community adopted legislation prohibiting the use of dairy terms such as milk on non-dairy products. A list of products exempt from this requirement was adopted in 1988. Her Majesty's Government argued then, unsuccessfully, that "soya milk" should be on this exempt list.
Since 1988 there has been protracted correspondence between the Commission and Her Majesty's Government about the exact status in the United Kingdom of the term "soya milk". In June 1994, at the request of Her Majesty's Government, the issue was discussed by the Community committee designated to consider such issues. It overwhelmingly supported the Commission's proposal that "soya milk" should not be added to the list of exempt products.
Lord Lucas: Extensive information is already given on the labels of organophosphate products used as both veterinary medicines and pesticides about the symptoms associated with feeling unwell. The labels of sheep dips include information such as: "If you have breathing problems, or if you have felt persistently unwell after using a product containing an organophosphorus compound, consult your doctor before working with this product. All accidental spillages of the concentrate should be washed off the skin immediately. Cases of heavy contamination should be treated as an emergency and the patient taken to hospital. The symptoms of mild poisoning are a feeling of unnatural exhaustion and weakness which may be accompanied by cramp-like
This is reinforced in the advisory leaflet Sheep dipping AS 29 (rev) published jointly by the Health and Safety Executive, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and the Department of the Environment, and circulated free to all registered sheep farmers, which recommends that "If anyone feels unwell during dipping, or within 48 hours of dipping, they should stop work, wash any contamination from their skin or clothing and consult a doctor. They should take the product label details so the doctor knows which chemicals are involved." The leaflet further explains that the effects of the dip can include: "skin redness, discomfort and pain, especially on the face; or with OPs headaches, dizziness, weakness, anxiety, blurred vision, watery eyes or mouth, nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, cold sweating, runny nose, chest tightness, muscle twitching, loss of co-ordination and mental confusion. More serious poisoning can result in diarrhoea, extreme difficulty with breathing and convulsions in the absence of medical treatment."
If any of the above symptoms occur, particularly if there is known contamination; STOP WORK: Remove contaminated clothing, wash exposed skin and hair. Prevent all exertion. Call doctor AT ONCE and show label."
It is, as ever, most important that label instructions are carefully followed, whether for products containing organophosphates or not, and that medical advice be sought if any of these symptoms occur.
Lord Lucas: People who use organophosphate pesticides and veterinary medicines regularly as part of their paid employment are subject to Regulation 11 of The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994 (COSHH). This places a duty on employers to ensure that their employees are under
the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) booklet Surveillance of People Exposed To Health Risks At Work (HS(G)61) and Guidance Note MS17 Biological Monitoring of Workers Exposed To Organo-Phosphorus Pesticides;
Human medicines containing the organophosphate malathion are indicated for the treatment of scabies and louse infections. They are for short-term, intermittent use only. Regular biological monitoring is not therefore appropriate.
The Government's advice is detailed in both the Health and Safety Commission's (HSC) Approved Code of Practice The safe use of pesticides for non-agricultural purposes, and the joint HSC and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Code of Practice The safe use of pesticides on Farms and Holdings. Both documents include the following advice:
The decision on whether a particular individual will require health surveillance and what that surveillance would comprise, will depend on the results of the assessment employers carry out under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994 (COSHH).
Lord Lucas: Organophosphorus exposure from products such as fly strips and sprays and flea collars, when used in accordance with the label directions, is very low. Dog and cat flea collars are specially formulated to give a very slow, local release on to the surface of the animal.
"Field trial data in domestic situations indicate that the use of dichlorvos-containing strips at the recommended rates should not affect human health when used for periods of up to six months. No field data are available to assess the longer term use of strips in situations where people are continuously exposed. On the basis of estimated exposures, using worst case assumptions, label amendments have been recommended to warn the user that strips should not be used in rooms/areas where people could be exposed continuously. No actual exposure information is available following use of dichlorvos-containing hand held aerosol products. Exposures have been estimated, again using worst case assumptions, and compared with air concentrations of dichlorvos measured in human volunteer studies. These comparisons have shown
Workplace exposure to organophosphorus compounds should also be low if the activity is carried out in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions and the proper controls have been adopted following the risk assessment required under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994 (COSHH). Exposure to organophosphorus compounds in domestic pest control products would not constitute any appreciable additional risk.
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