Agrevo and Organophosphates

A truck driver is poisoned by hazardous waste

I used to work for a hazardous waste company and take stuff from Agrevo (Coopers)in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, down to Rechem in Fawley, Southampton. Sometimes the waste was incorrectly labelled and when it was, I would question, make a stand and refuse to load until it was rectified. The people on site could not believe that I as a driver dare to question their authority, I am afraid to say they did not know what I was like (this was prevalent throughout the industry as they take truck drivers as being thick).

Each time on returning back to my depot my so-called manager would try to discipline me but I would always get the O.K.from our site chemist for his say so to load or reject without the knowledge of my manager. It was very sweet to see his reaction.

On two occasions, within 12 hours of leaving the sites I was bluelighted into Bedford Hospital. My heart rate was running, or rather fluttering, at 258bpm - yes 258 - and the paramedics had the battery leads ready as they did not think we were going to make it.

Par for the course again - my employer went in to denial as did the consultants: it was my age and happens quite regularly but they could/would not give me the names of other sufferers. I did have all the symptoms of Organophosphate poisoning but in medical terms this does not exist. Ask the sheep farmers or gulf war veterans.

My health was very badly affected for several months and as a result I was on heart stabilisers until this January when I decided to stop those with the full knowledge of my G.P. I did try litigation through the company's union but on the 11th hour was told to stop going to court in London as the union was advised to withdraw the funding. I was told to accept 4,000 and that my health was not an issue.

I did obtain some American information on Organophosphate poisoning from another chemical company who were very sympathetic but, par for the course again, it was too late. I used to give my G.P.s all the information but they dismissed the idea chemicals had any part in my problems.

I did have contact with an organisation called "opin "(Organophosphate info network) but have since found out they are censored and in bed with the ministry.

I received a call from a farmer, John, in Cornwall who was taking legal action and rings up the likes of me to encourage us all to carry on as there are some very ill people in this country. Some of these were young men in their early 20s and he was one of them. Suicide is the only relief for some.

He at first cross examined me on my symptoms and we had so much in common as to our ailments but luckily mine were nowhere as serious as his or some of the others'. Look at any web site concerning "Organophosphates". The symptoms are weird and G.P.s cannot take on board (or do not want to) unexplained aches and pains, severe cramps, headaches, violent nerve twitches in arms and legs, sometimes paralysis and a total character change, sometimes becoming very aggressive and confrontational.

I now remember how John made contact. I was trying to find a lady who was a clinical scientist living in South Wales. She did an article on treating people who were taken ill after using flea sprays on pets. I only had her name to go on. A newspaper in South Wales did an article on her but when I made enquiries they did not recall any such article. That's what I was up against and she was the part of an interesting jigsaw. She is very elderly but suggested changing diet and eating habits. Some of the people who John got to contact me were in a pitiful state - they just used to ring up and it was like a roundabout, every one with the same problems but no one to help or turn to, losing jobs and livelihoods. One guy in Oxfordshire was to be evicted from his tied cottage as he could no longer work on the farm that made him ill. Agrevo and Diversey - another chemical giant- have a lot to answer for.

This will strike you as strange. I used to go to Diversey in Derbyshire and was also ill after leaving there. Within hours I was subjected to all the dirty menial jobs and told about my time off sick, problems with my driving and people ringing up the company to complain. The union was a waste of space; you would not believe the crap I went through. I got great pleasure from threatening to put my manager through a wall.

One of my cousins who lives in Luton, Bedfordshire, used to work for Diversey and used to go to the Derbyshire site at Riddings near Alfreton. There they used to make sheep dip, which they called it soap (Organophosphates - some soap!) He recalls the underground mine shafts in which they used to dump their excess capacity (nice way of putting it); they always stank of Jeyes Fluid. That site by now would be developed for housing, but my cousin has severe health problems. He has not worked for a number of years and is never likely to again.

Another one of my cousins married an American in the late fifties and worked up here in sunny Bedfordshire at a U.S. Air Force early warning and listening base. He was transfered to - wait for it - GCHQ in Cheltenham and worked on very sensitive items. They have long since divorced. I can see the snoops now, opening up files to see who my cousin was.

I am on refresher course at Peterborough to renew my ADR licence to carry hazardous chemicals but I intend to be selective if I get it back. I have not worked for the last four years due to another incident where I injured my left side and suffered problems with my arm and leg. My health history with Shanks & McEwan has not helped in finding employment.

I have somewhere copies of my load lists just to substantiate that I went on the Agrevo site. Also, I have always kept diaries and I was aware that the site was to be developed and it was to cost several millions to clean up and dispose of the contaminated soil which was to be excavated several metres down and taken to our tips at Brogborough or Stewartby in Bedfordshire.

I feel sorry for those people who really do not comprehend the legacy these companies leave behind. I always say Profit or the comes before people.

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