Why Some Farmers Suffer from Organophosphate Poisoning and Others Do Not

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Organophosphate pesticides are extremely damaging molecules, but some farmers appear not to be badly affected by them whilst others are severely affected. It is a bit like smoking - everybody knows of the smoker who lives until 100, but susceptible individuals die young from cancer and heart disease. The question is what is the difference between the farmers who do suffer from OP poisoning and the farmers that do not?

This question has been partly answered by Professor Nicola Cherry, who has looked at the ability of the body to detoxify organophosphates. The enzyme which does this, namely paraoxonase, was measured in the blood. In addition, the gene for this enzyme and its polymorphs were also looked at. Professor Cherry found that patients with organophosphate poisoning were slow metabolisers

This gives us a four pronged approach to treatment (and these principles apply to all since we live in such a toxic world)

  • Avoid
  • Do your best to avoid any other toxic stress
  • Get rid of the organophosphates with heating regimes (Epsom salt baths ideal)

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