Causal Links from Organophosphates Sprayed in the Home to CLL:
In Germany, they stopped spraying pesticides in domestic homes twenty-five years ago. I have personally experienced the effects of pesticides in the home and I would like my story to be used to further limit the use of these toxic chemicals.
I was exposed to the organophosphate Pentachlorophenol - PCP when we first moved into our house in NW London. PCP is the same family of nasty chemicals as Agent Orange. The house had been sprayed with PCP against woodworm by the previous owners, Brent Council. The PCP had soaked into the carpet underlay and that had turned to dust so as I swept it up, I must have breathed it in. The council were not negligent, they had moved all their tenants out before spraying commenced.
Having previously been well, I then became ill with chronic flu-like symptoms and a phlegmy cough with rhinitis that lasted for 5 years and was unsuccessfully treated as asthma. Then I had a blood test through the doctor and the test found worrying amounts of pentachlorophenol, and also lindane, dieldrin and DDT - these were probably from our previous flat that had been sprayed against cockroaches. I went on an organic diet, came off cows milk, generally cleaned up my act and I got better.
Then, ten years later I started to get flues and viruses again. I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia - CLL. I looked on the net and found many cases in the USA where a causal link with exposure to pentachlorophenol had been proved in court to cause CLL. There were examples of clusters of six workers with CLL in one wood factory where PCP was used. However the CLL wouldn’t show up in the workers until many years after exposure. In one of these cases, a young man in his early twenties had a brief part time job in a sawmill where pentachlorophenol was used. Years later he got CLL when he’d forgotten all about the job and sadly died at 40 years old.
The period of latency from exposure to pentachlorophenol and onset of CLL is 14 – 17 years. We moved into our house exactly 15 years before I was diagnosed with CLL – that’s too close for comfort for me.
It is very interesting, that the hotspots for CLL are in Minnesota, the largest agricultural state in the USA that has massive crop spraying. The other hotspot is New York City where for 20 years, apartments have been regularly sprayed inside with insecticide against cockroach infestation. NYC also has a high population of Central/Eastern Europeans where CLL has a high incidence. In my case I do have genes from that area from my mother but I am sure my CLL also has a strong environmental factor.
The effects of small doses of pesticides/insecticides/fungicides exposure are delayed. Laboratories only test these chemicals in the short term, not for the long-term effects of carrying around a cocktail of small doses. There is evidence that small amounts of Organophosphates have the same lethal effect on our immune systems as large doses.
Now a connection has been found between honeybee colony collapse and Neonicotinoid pesticide residues found in their hives – it affects their immune systems. I feel like the bees, we are the canaries in the mine.
Molly Fletcher 23/10/12