Oilseed rape/Rapeseed

Inspiration & dedication

The author has been inspired to publish this website by the courage and determination of asthma sufferers all over the world and in particular my friends and fellow ďcampersĒ who post on the Asthma UK forum providing a network of support and advice for asthmatics around the globe. The authors  dedication is fuelled with the knowledge that a great number of families who live adjacent to flowering  oilseed rape fields  have been suffering

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allergy type symptoms like asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis and headache for an increasing number of years whilst the government has failed to adequately investigate the problems and also failed to take a precautionary stance in the interest of public health.

Special thanks is extended to Fabienne Smith of Action Against Allergy who provided invaluable allergy advice and mentoring.

Stimulating a more holistic approach to scientific research

It is hoped that this website will stimulate the scientific community into realising that science is sadly lacking without the application of lateral thinking. Scientists may have sound academic backgrounds with years of experience in research but they become entrenched in their narrow reductionist principles and refuse to consider important factors which fall outwith their orthodox teachings. This narrow minded approach is exacerbated because scientists rarely undertake multi-disciplinary research which would encourage the dissemination of information between disciplines thereby contributing to the understanding of interactions which are known to influence cause and effect relationships. The aim of this website is to demonstrate that a lay-person with courage, determination and a little understanding of allergy can highlight the inadequacies of previous research projects and even offer a highly plausible hypothesis supported with a well referenced list of published material.

The Precautionary Approach to Oilseed Rape Allergy

The author wrote and presented an allergy research paper (The Precautionary Approach to Oilseed Rape Allergy)  back in February 1994.  Copies of this paper were circulated widely in 1994 to all oilseed rape scientific research groups, government health and environmental departments, the Health & Safety Executive, and many other interested groups/individuals.

By all accounts the paper was well received and RoSPA published a book review stating that the paper was a well written thought provoking publication.  The eminent immunologist Prof. Jonathan Brostoff wrote to the author and advised that he also agreed with the authors comments that more research was required to look at the volatiles from oilseed rape.  To date, no negative responses or comments pointing out inaccuracies have ever been received.

This paper, presented in 1994, appears to have stood the test of time, because as yet, despite further rigorous scientific studies published after this date, the scientists have been unable to disprove the authorís theory about risks to human health and the absolute need for a holistic approach.

It would appear that the research scientists conveniently pushed aside the authorís assertions.  After all what would a lay-person know about such scientific/medical matters.

Limitations of reductionist science

It is rather ironic to note from some of the very recent research papers, that some scientists are beginning to change their posture and may yet have to concede that they may never be able to confirm that oilseed rape is not responsible for the increased risks to human health.

In 1998, Parratt advised; We have sought EU support to compare the putative causes of oilseed rape allergy/irritancy in European countries and the UK. No funding was forthcoming. Until such studies are undertaken there can be no satisfactory resolution of the public concern that oilseed rape is a genuine cause of ill health.

In 1998, McSharry stated; oilseed rape allergy or sensitivity is a public health concern with economic and political interest.  This subject still needs more work. Probably the best prospect will be a co-ordinated multi-disciplinary approach, with respiratory physicians, clinical scientists and plant biologists who have the confidence of the community and local authority in the areas studied.

So what does that tell us about reductionist scientific principles in the 21st Century?  Perhaps if the scientists had been open-minded about the authorís theory back in 1994 (regarding the need for a holistic approach) they would have been better positioned to investigate claims that oilseed rape causes an increased (and unacceptable) risk to human health.

Sir Almond Wright, founder with Alexander Fleming, of the world famous Wright-Fleming Institute at St. Marys Hospital, Paddington in London, once said that a new idea in science has to pass through three stages: -

1. When it is regarded as ridiculous

2. When scientists say, okay it is possible, but where is the proof?

3. When everyone dismisses it as obvious

Author - Armitage; copyright 2007

key words: sensitisation, immunogenic, asthmagenic, haptenic, haptens, synergism, tvoc, rhinitis, headache, asthma, rapeseed, canola, GMOs, immunocompromised, OSR, volatiles, volatile organic compounds, terpenes, attractants, alternaria, irritants, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, chemical sensitivity, eczema, ozone, yellow peril, pungent, biodiesel, biofuel, rme, cap, set-aside, double low, allergy, armitage

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