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April 21, 2007

Rapeseed (syn. Canola) Revisited.

For a few weeks at about this time of year, parts of England’s ‘green and pleasant land’ turns into a nauseous Day-Glo yellow vista, as farmers submit us hapless country-lovers not only to hideous horizon-wide visual onslaught, but also to our annual toxic gassing of unpleasant volatiles from rapeseed flowers (Brassica napus spp. oleifera) coupled with a seasonal overload of rapeseed pollen.

Uses - bio-diesel & cosmetics.
When the UK crop matures, some of the fixed oil produced is sold for bio-diesel, mainly to Germany, according to an illustrated article in a recent Guardian supplement (Blythman 2007). Elsewhere, it is quoted that some 40-60% of European rapeseed production goes to bio-diesel production (Mudeva 2006); Apart from France, Poland is also among top rapeseed-oil producing countries, its’ output being quoted as 1.49 million tons in 2004  (Krukowska 2004), although UK production is expected to top 2 million tons in 2008 (Blythman 2007).  DEFRA have previously pointed out that 1 ton of rapeseed gives 0.38 tons of rape methyl ester (one possible bio-fuel, besides rape ethyl ester etc.). In other parts of the world, opposition to bio-fuels, especially bio-ethanol, has been vigorous (see Larouchepac 2006), but it hasn’t stopped the Canadian Agriculture minister in 2006 announcing $11 million in funding initiatives for Canadian farmers in biofuels opportunities (N.B. already 40% of the rapeseed grown in Canada is GM, according to Teitel 2001).

Supplementing diesel is apparently in line with the EU commitment to increasing the share of bio-fuelled transport to 10% (Kroeger, 2007), although this has bought criticism from many environmental NGO’s who say the policy will do more harm than good (Anon 2007). Some of these criticisms have been aired in the UK national press, such as the fact that land, which should be primarily set aside for food production, is being raffled off to appease the modern great God: the motor car. In a slightly different area, George Monbiot has criticized the UK government for not disqualifying palm-oil (which he maintains will actually worsen greenhouse gas discharges) from EU-driven bio-fuel targets (Monbiot 2006). True, a public consultation exercise on the bio-fuels policy topic was conducted by the EC (EC 2006), but as usual, the EC was more concerned with policy than practicality, and failed to ask views on the pertinent issues. 

A small amount of rapeseed oil is used in cosmetics, especially in soap-making, as a carrier for fragrances in 100% ‘natural’ perfumes, and as a diluent for candle fragrances, in lamp oils etc.  However considering rapeseed oil’s negative eco-associations above (nitrate leaching, crop spraying requirements etc.) this fragrance diluent usage stops at ‘natural’ perfumes and for obvious reasons does not extend to claims for ‘organic’ perfumes.

Rapeseed oil production – the negative aspects.

Committing a large area of agricultural land to growing rapeseed has a downside. Some of the issues here include:

1. The increased use of harmful crop sprays. Rapeseed is prone to widespread attack from a variety of insect & microbiological predators. An average crop might receive the following sprayings: 3 of herbicides, 2 of fungicides & 2 of insecticides per growing season (Office of National Statistics through Blythman 2007). Insecticides commonly used include glufosinate ammonium & the hormone disruptor vinclozolin.

2. Possible eco-damage. Rapeseed crop production is associated with higher demands for nitrogen & sulphur-based fertiliser application, and excessive nitrate leaching into water sources is associated with rapeseed cultivation, causing localised environmental problems. In addition, decaying rapeseed vegetation (in common with other Brassica spp.) is known to put thiocyanate into the soil (Brown & Morra 1993), & soils treated with defatted rapeseed meal were determined to yield 6µg/g of thiocyanate (Brown et al 1991), although please note that a determined chemical value for thiocyanate, & and its total bioavailability, may differ. Microbiological degradation over several days will offer the principle detoxification route for thiocyanate (Brown & Morra 1993).

However the Canadian Canola Board indicate that breeders of Canola varieties have reduced the glucosinolate contents in rapeseed meal (where the bitter taste of glucosinolates acts as a feeding deterrent). Already they claim Canadian Canola meal has only an average 16µg/mol total glucosinolates (and some years it has been lower than this), compared with traditional meal which contains 120-160µg/mol. Judging by the nitrile & isothiocyanate volatiles coming from flowering rapeseed fields in the UK, this sort of technology hasn’t yet spared UK citizens from their annual gassing. 

3. The GM issue. Monsanto has been amongst those companies producing transgenic rapeseed varieties, modified to be resistant to RoundUp (known in Australia as RoundUp Ready canola). You may remember Monsanto previously hit the headlines when it prosecuted a Canadian farmer, who, it was claimed had allegedly infringed their property rights (wind-blown (?) GM rapeseed plants had appeared on his land). The judge, to the outrage of GM protesters, found for Monsanto (Teitel 2001), and although the case was later reviewed, the court still found for Monsanto (BBC 2004). The EC halted new approvals for GMO’s in 1998 due to intense consumer opposition, but the US filed a complaint at the WTO in 2003, supported by Argentina & Canada. The US action has been widely seen by EU consumers as bullying, and since the FDA has been involved in international GMO promotion, Cropwatch now sees this organization not as a reliable independent health authority, but as an authority hopelessly tainted by political influence.

In 2004 the EU introduced labeling & traceability procedures for GMO’s, but meanwhile the US has proved to be the leading source of global GM contamination. For example between 2001 & 2004 hundreds of tons of maize contaminated with Sygenta’s unapproved transgenic variety Bt10 were distributed world-wide and entered the global food chain, without the US authorities noticing for these  four years…

The EC, in a totally undemocratic move, authorised Monsanto in August 2005 to be allowed to grow the GM rapeseed variety GT73 in Europe for 10 years, going against the wishes of the EU member states, 13 out of 25 of whom had voted against the proposal. The EU Commissioners seem, for unknown reasons, keen to promote GM technology throughout Europe, and are out of touch with the opinions of the majority of EU citizens who maintain a strong anti-GM stance. A more recent evaluation of the safety of GM canola, including the explaining away of increase in liver weights of rats fed GT73 canola, is to be found at FD Govt Au (2007). 

The European Commission just recently authorized the Bayer Chemical Company to be allowed grow three GM rapeseed varieties in Europe for the next 10 years, modified to resist glufosinate ammonium.

And so it goes on….

4. Allergic Reactions
According to my unscientifically-based observations (i.e. talking to some UK GP’s), rapeseed pollen causes untold seasonal respiratory misery for a proportion of the (rural?) UK population, but this fact is apparently disputed by oilseed organizations. The scientific press shows little clear direction on the issue either – just a handful of articles, both for (e.g. Focke et al. 1998; Hemmer et al. 1997) and against (e.g. Guylling 2006) an allergic association. Previously Parrat et al. (1995) had shown in a Scottish study that allergic reactions were not directly related to airborne pollen levels, although Welch et al. (2000) ruled out cross-reactivity with grass pollen. Soutar et al. (1994) investigating 1000 people from the Aberdeen area had suggested the prevalence of symptoms was small and could be caused by chemicals from the crop chemicals. Similarly Murphy (1999) had concluded that rapeseed allergenicity only had a minimal impact on health. An article by Butcher et al. (1994) looked for possible aeroallergens/irritants & identified 22 volatiles from rapeseed flowers.

More recent studies paint a more illuminating picture, however. Children with IgE-mediated allergy to foods often show reactions to rape seeds in skin prick tests (pathways unknown). Puumalaein et al. (2005) have shown that 2S albumins (seed storage proteins) may be responsible for the rapeseed food allergy, and investigations characterising these proteins being investigated by Palomeres et. al. (2002).  More recently, Fiorina et al. (2003) employed an in situ aerobiologic test to detect the presence of a rapeseed allergen, where routine tests had failed, and Hermanides et al. (2006) describe cases of occupational allergy to Brassica pollens.

It seems that science has yet to catch up with UK people’s anecdotal experiences of eye & upper respiratory irritation from rapeseed volatiles or pollen and offer some explanations. Or is there a conspiracy of silence?  An excellent thread from 1996 on the Gentech archive (Gentech 1996) shows examples of academic unawareness (failing to find what published studies there are), UK ministerial indifference (no evidence, but revealed to be simply because of a lack of authoritative studies) and a surprising dearth of North American & Canadian anecdotal symptom reporting, in contrast to the UK experience. The Gentech article also provides 14 references related to allergenicity of rapeseed/rapeseed products – which had proved so hard for some authorities to find (err, no change there then!).

The persistence of public belief that rapeseed cultivation causes widespread seasonal respiratory distress has been remarked upon by Blythman (2007), who maintains (paraphrasing his words) that in the absence of a clear case of  causation, maybe we should own up to the fact that in the UK, we simply don’t like the stuff.

I, for one, am quite willing to own up to that fact.

Anon (2007) “Brussels biofuels push met with skepticism.” – see http://www.euractiv.com/en/environment/brussels-biofuels-push-met-scepticism/article-160789

BBC (2004) see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3736591.stm

Blythman J. (2007) “Seeds of Discontent.” The Guardian G2 19.04.07 pp4-8.  See also http://environment.guardian.co.uk/energy/story/0,,2060538,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=1

Brown P.D., Morra M.J., McCaffrey J.R., Auld D.L. & Williams III L. (1991) "Allelochemicals produced during glucosinolate degradation in soil." J. Chem. Ecology 17(10), 2021-2034.

Brown P.D.  &  Morra M.J. (1993) "Fate of Ionic thiocyanate (SCN-) in Soil" J. Agric. Food Chem. 1003, 41, 978-982.

Butcher R.D., MacFarlane-Smith W., Robertson G.W., Griffiths D.W. (1994) "The identification of potential aeroallergen/irritant(s) from oilseed rape (Brassica napus spp. oleifera): volatile organic compounds emitted during flowering progression." Clin Exp Allergy. 24(12), 1105-14.

EC (2006) http://ec.europa.eu/energy/res/legislation/biofuels_consultation_en.htm
FD Govt Au - see “GM Canola safety assessment” at http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/newsroom/factsheets/factsheets2004/gmcanolasafetyassess2498.cfm

Fiorina A., Scordamaglia A., Guerra L. & Passalacqua G.(2003) "Aerobiologic diagnosis of brassicaceae-induced asthma" Allergy 58 (8), 829–830.

Focke M., Hemmer W., Hayek B., Gotz M. & Jarisch R. (1998) "Identification of allergens in oilseed rape (Brassica napus) pollen." Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 117(2), 105-12

Gentech (1996): see archive at http://www.gene.ch/gentech/1999/May-Jun/msg00001.html

Gylling H. (2006) "Rapeseed oil does not cause allergic reactions." Allergy 61(7), 895.

Hemmer W., Focke M., Wantke F., Jager S., Gotz M. & Jarisch R. (1997) "Oilseed rape pollen is a potentially relevant allergen." Clin Exp Allergy 27(2), 156-61.

Hermanides H.K., Lahey-de Boer A.M., Zuidmeer L., Guikers C., van Ree R., & Knulst A.C. (2006) "Brassica oleracea pollen, a new source of occupational allergens." Allergy 61(4), 498-502.

Kroeger A. (2007) “Denmark Seeks bio-fuel solutions.”  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6539379.stm

Krukowska E. (ed) (2004) “Polish bio-diesel output seen surging on law change.” – see http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/35623/newsDate/14-Mar-2006/story.htm

Larouchepac (2006) – see http://www.state.sd.us/puc/commission/dockets/electric/2005/el05-022/hearing/pubicmeetingexhbitneson2.pdf

McEwan M., Macfarlane Smith W.H. “Identification of volatile organic compounds emitted in the field by oilseed rape (Brassica napus ssp. oleifera) over the growing season."  Clinical Exptl Allergy 28(3), 332.   

Monbiot G. (2006) – see http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/12/06/worse-than-fossil-fuel

Mudeva A. (2006) “Food Industry calls for bio-diesel alternatives.” – see

Murphy D.J. (1999) "Is rapeseed really an allergenic plant? Popular myths versus scientific realities." Immunology Today 20 (11), 511-514.

Palomares O., Monsalve R.I., Rodríguez R. & Villalba M. (2002) "Recombinant pronapin precursor produced in Pichia pastoris displays structural and immunologic equivalent properties to its mature product isolated from rapeseed." Eur. J. Biochem. 269, 2538-2545. 

Parratt D., Macfarlane Smith W.H., Thomson G., Cameron L.A. & Butcher R.D. (1995) "Evidence that oilseed rape (Brassica napus ssp. oleifera) causes respiratory illness in rural dwellers." Scott Med J.  40(3), 74-6.

Puumalainen T.J., Poikonen S., Kotovuori A., Vaali K., Kalkkinen N., Reunala T., Turjanmaa K, Timo Palosuo T. "Napins, 2S albumins, are major allergens in oilseed rape and turnip rape." Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 117(2),426-432.

Teitel M. (2001).  “There you go again, Monsanto.” – see http://www.gene-watch.org/genewatch/articles/14-4monsanto.html

Welch J., Jones M.G., Cullinan P., Coates O.A., & Newman Taylor A.J. (2000) "Sensitization to oilseed rape is not due to cross-reactivity with grass pollen." Clin Exp Allergy. 30(3), 370-5.

Posted by Tony Burfield on April 21, 2007 in Ecological/Cultural Sustainability, Oil Crops | Permalink


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This post from Tony came at an opportune time because Snohomish County, where we live, is heavily promoting the growing of rapeseed (or canola as they call it)in our county for use as biofuel . They did a test plot last year (50 acres) and concluded that canola grown here has very high yields (twice as high as the average) of oil that is well suited to biofuel use.
This year they are proposing to grow it on 500 acres, and a local nursery has bought enough seed to cover that. No information is available about whether it is GM or not; we are working on obtaining that information.
Around here the main issue or concern cited in the media here isn't even mentioned by Tony: cross-pollinaton of cabbage seeds grown in the northern part of the county (apparently most of the US supply of cabbage seed is grown here). And we also have an issue with where the seed is dried and where the oil is extracted. The county government, although actively promoting the growing of canola, has balked at providing a few big bucks for a dryer so that the seeds don't rot before the oil can be extracted. And it appears that (at least for this year) the seeds will have to be ground and the oil extracted at Sunnyside, in eastern Washington (150 miles away), which will certainly add to the monetary cost and the carbon cost of growing the seeds here.
If all the things they are trying to work out actually work, "farmers in the county could soon be planting thousands of acres of canola seed, experts said." [Article in the The Snohomish Tribune for April 4, 2007.]

Posted by: Rob | Apr 21, 2007 6:33:46 PM

I was somewhat taken aback by your thoughts regarding Canola. I live in Canada , in an area that has produced huge amounts of canola for many years . As a matter of fact I believe it was developed at The University of Manitoba .
From my armchair I have seen the oil being used as a healthy alternative to Hydrogenated oils . Especially the 'cold rolled' canola oils , they seem to be in high favour for healthy diets.
I do not know if I am in favor of genetically modified Canola (Monsanto) but one benefit has been for farmers and enviornment because most of the former herbicides do not need to be applied , just round-up a couple of times and all the weeds are gone. The way I understand it , Round-up is less toxic than table salt. It also leaves no residue in the soil.
I wonder if we are comparing the (former) rapeseed , which had many toxic issues to the (modern) Canola varieties which do not have those same issues.
I somewhat agree with your position about using Canola for bio-fuel . You are correct when you say huge amounts of farm fuels and fertilizers are used to produce bio-deisel , there is not a lot of net gain overall . I think most of this is to appease the green enviornmentalists who like the feel good propoganda gained from bio=fuels. Even Hydrogen , it takes more energy to produce a gallon of hydrogen than it releases in energy.
Anyway I am getting off topic ,I am considering your thoughts on rapeseed production , and was not aware of allergy problems caused to some folks. Many thanks for the info.
Greetings from Canada
Arnie Madsen

Posted by: Arnie Madsen | Apr 22, 2007 7:02:56 PM

A major reason they want to produce canola in our county (and other places as well) is because a lot of food production that was formerly the main farm crop has moved away from the urban areas and the high land costs associated with urbanity. We are trying to preserve agricultural land, but when we do, we still need crops to grow that are profitable. When combined with the need to reduce oil imports, canola is a viable and cost effective crop that can be grown.
However, in the rush to move ahead with things like this, we sometimes forget to examine the issues completely, and there are often unintended consequences.
It appears there is a canola plot right on the edge of the city of Snohomish (we saw it blooming on Sunday), within a few hundred feet of a populated area. This could result in allergic problems, but no one thought of examining that issue.
Another potential problem is that once it is grown extensively, the seed that escapes from the fields (spills along the road, as one possibility) can spread and it can become a noxious weed. We already have major problems with herbs like St. Johns Wort and Milk Thistle as noxious weeds.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't be growing canola; just that we need to think about the consequences thereof, and be prepared to deal with them.

Posted by: Rob | Apr 24, 2007 12:54:53 PM


- NOTE: Refer to Section (E) For Report conclusions -

(A) Is Oilseed Rape’s Reputation for Causing Allergy Justified?

Public concern about allergy symptoms from oilseed rape (OSR) has increased dramatically over the last five years as information filters through to the public via the national newspapers and television [l], suggesting a possible link with the dramatic increase in hay fever and asthma sufferers over the last decade, even horses [2] appear to suffer from OSR allergy (OSRA). However, in March 1993, Professor Seaton of Aberdeen University issued a public statement based on his interim results and advised that OSR's reputation was a media creation with no scientific basis [3].

(B) Are There any Restrictions Controlling The Planting of Oilseed Rape In Close Proximity to Residential Areas and Roadways?

This question was put to the European Commission in 1991 by a Scottish MEP., the Commission's response was as follows [4]: The Commission has not instituted any guidelines, nor does it intend to in the foreseeable future, which would prevent the sowing of OSR crops in close proximity to residential areas and roadways as it is not aware of any conclusive evidence to date indicating that the growing of such seed is harmful to human health. The Commission itself has not carried out any research on potential human health risks associated with exposure to OSR. The only research of which the Commission is aware concerns a three year project on the human health effects of the growing of OSR in progress at Aberdeen University, which was commissioned by the Scottish Office. The Commission awaits the results of this research with interest.

(C) What Aspects Of Oilseed Rape Can Cause Allergy?

The brassica family, which includes oilseed rape, mustard, cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and radish.., is well documented for causing both antibody-mediated allergy and cell-mediated allergy [5].

Brassicas are characterized by a yield of volatile chemicals called isothiocyanates (ITCs) which are derived from biochemicals contained in the plant tissue and released by the plant's natural enzyme myrosinase during degradation of the plant materials [6].

ITCs have been well documented for causing allergic symptoms in patients who have had skin contact with or have ingested brassica derivatives [7]. In France 1987, Dr Gervais reported that patients who had developed occupational asthma due to exposure to isocyanates (organic chemical extensively used by the paint and plastic industries, and it is chemically related to ITC) also developed asthma after eating brassica condiments. This study confirmed that ITCs could also induce asthma [8]. In 1988, Dr Tollsten reported that ITC was one of many volatile substances found in the air space above brassica crops, including OSR [9].

Scientists have reported that OSR pollen (biological allergens) can be transported by wind and may travel in excess of 1km from the source [10]. Furthermore, it is suspected that the airborne pollen may also carry traces of ITCs [11].

Fungal spores thrive on OSR and they also can be transported large distances by the wind. Spores from field fungi are well documented for causing allergy and are particularly hazardous to asthmatics [12].

(D) What Are The Results Of Previous Oilseed Rape Allergy Studies?

The first person to be diagnosed with oilseed rape allergy was a farmer aged 30, from Sweden. The patient was diagnosed by Dr Colldahl in 1954, and was found to be suffering severe rhinitis, conjunctivitis and bronchial asthma when OSR was grown in close proximity to his house. He had no family history of allergy [13].

In Scandinavia 1978, Dr Bucur reported that for several years he had found a large and increasing number of patients who reacted to OSR skin tests. A number of his patients described severe rhinitis, conjunctivitis and asthma when passing by or staying near fields of OSR. Dr Bucur advised that it seemed obvious that sensitisation would occur, and concluded that patients suffering from similar symptoms in OSR regions, should be examined for OSR allergy [4].

In N.America 1979, Dr Lewis reported that 283 atopic patients were skin tested positive when tested with brassica pollen. Though OSR pollen was not specifically mentioned, Dr Lewis qualified this by stating that pollen from the brassica family is all very similar [15].

In Scotland between 1988 and 1993, Dr Parratt led a team of scientists who conducted numerous OSR allergy studies in Tayside region over a period of five years. After a clinical study involving RAST testing (blood testing) of patients in 1989, Dr Parratt reported that his findings supported the general public concern that OSR is a potent source of sensitisation [16].

In Scotland 1990, Prof Ninan reported after skin testing atopic children suspected of having OSR allergy, that his results supported the view that OSR pollen was not a potent allergen. He advised that the chemicals given off from the crops were the likely cause of OSR allergy, and a further study would be required to ascertain their effects on human health [17].

In England 1991, Dr Fell reported that his findings indicated a low prevalence of allergy to OSR pollen unless the subjects were occupationally exposed. Like Prof. Ninan, he too reported that research into the effects of the airborne volatiles was required [18].

In Scotland March 1993, Prof. Seaton reported interim results of his three year study of 2,000 people living in OSR and non-OSR areas. He advised that the results indicated no increase in symptoms in people living in OSR areas in comparison to those living in non-OSR areas. Prof. Seaton concluded that OSRs reputation was a media creation with no scientific basis [3].

It is interesting to note that Prof. Seaton's interim report was based on the results of a questionnaire [19] and had not in fact carried out clinical tests on any of the 2,000 interviewees.

(E) Conclusions and Recommendations

There is no doubt that oilseed rape pollen will cause allergic symptoms in established allergy sufferers who live, travel or work in close proximity to rape fields [20].

Introducing “new” allergens into the environment also creates a window of opportunity in people who have no past history of allergy [21]. The main determining factors in the development of allergy are the concentration of allergen, mode of contact, distance from source, immunocompetence and the total immune stress load [22].

As long as orthodox scientists continue to study and explain oilseed rape allergy using reductionist science, i.e. cause and effect [23], the health of the nation will suffer as scientists fail to identify the causation. Modern science requires modem “lateral thinking” which takes into account all variable interactions (and immune stressors) and their cumulative effects. This is called the precautionary approach [24], which is advocated by the European Commission [25].

The precautionary approach is not new to allergy, clinical ecologists have been studying cell-mediated allergy caused by environmental factors for decades [26] but it is only now that their efforts are coming to fruition, though the “old boy network” of orthodox scientists continue to ignore precautionary science and clinical ecology [27].

It is perhaps noteworthy that the precautionary approach shifts the burden of proof from the clinical ecologist, who previously had to prove that a threat existed, to the accused, who must prove using the same approach that a threat does not exist. When scientists wake up to this “new” way of thinking, the world will become a healthier place for most allergy sufferers [28].

Perhaps a starting point should be government recognition that oilseed rape may indeed be a hazard to human health and it therefore should be taking precautions to protect public health by introducing exclusion zones around residential areas, until at least oilseed rape allergy has been studied using the precautionary philosophy.

Future attempts to exonerate oilseed rape from causing widespread allergy should not be undertaken until both sides of allergy (antibody-mediated and cell-mediated) have been properly addressed by research scientists.

Author: Derek Armitage, February 1994
(Community Support Against Exposure to Rapeseed)

Presented and circulated widely to the UK medical, environmental & scientific communities February 1994.

(F) References

1a Hay fever increase., ITN News At Ten broadcast 5/5/93.
1b. Allergy risk from crop., The Times, 15/9/89.
1c. The fields of misery lead to increase in health problems., Christie,B., The Scotsman, 21/5/92.
1d. Pollen count clue as best man dies on eve of wedding., Darlington & Stockton Times, 25/5/93.

2a. Horses may suffer from yellow peril., Young,R., The 25/8/87.
2b. Oilseed rape and equine respiratory disease., Hackett,I.J., The Veterinary Record, 14/7/90, p46.
2c. Pasture-associated seasonal respiratory disease in two horses., Dixon,P.M & McGorum,B .C., The Veterinary Record, 6: 1:90, p9-12.
2d. Headshaking in horses., Mair,T & Lane,G., In Practice, Sept 1990, p183-186.

3a. Scientists say oilseed rape’s yellow peril reputation is unfair., The Scotsman, 4/3/93.
3b. Oilseed rape: experts reject hazard claim., Parry,J., Farming News, 28/5/93.

4. Written Questions Nos 2414191 & 2415/91, Official Journal of The European Communities. No. C159/25,25:6:92., No. C209/14, 15:8:92.

5a. Cutaneous allergy to mustard in a salad maker., Dannaker,C.J & White,I.R., Contact Dermatitis., 1987: 16;212-214.
5b. Anaphylactic shock from mustard after ingestion of pizza., Panconesi,B et al., Contact Dermatitis, 1980:6;294.
5c. Contact Urticaria from cabbage., Calnan,C.D., Contact Dermatitis, 198 1 :7;279. 5d. A cauliflower allergy., Ketel,W.G.van., Contact Dermatitis, 1975:1;324.
5e. Allergic contact & dermatitis from radish., Mitchell,J & Jordan,W.P., British Journal of Dermatology, 197491; 183.

6a. Plants and plant products injurious to the skin., Mitchell,J & Rook,A., Botanical Dermatology .,Vancouver, Greengrass., 1979227.
6b. Item 9a. below, p4014.

7a. Immediate hypersensitivity to mustard and rape., Medwing,B ., Contact Dermatitis, 1985: 13;121-122.
7b. Item 5a. above. c. Item 6. above, p229.

8. The Initiator role of certain respiratory and skin contaminants in food allergies., Gervais,P et al., Allergie et Immunologic, vol19, No 1,1987, p7-11.

9a. Headspace volatiles of whole plants and macerated plant parts of brassica and sinapis., Tollsten,L & Bergstrom,G., Phytochemistry, 1988:27;4013-4018.
9b. Hay fever, the complete guide., Brostoff,J & Gamlin,L., 1993, p120.

10a. Wayward genes play the field., Young,S., New Scientist, 9/9/89, p49-53.
10b. Oilseed rape: “There is no evidence...”, Are we sure?., Cameron,L.A., Angus District Council OSRA Report, 31:8:90., p16-17.
10c. Item 9b. above, p4.
10d. Item 11a. above, p164.

11a. Preliminary observations on inhalation and intradermal challenges of horses with oilseed rape., McGorum,B.C & Dixon,P.M., The Veterinary Record, 1992: 13 1; 166.
11b. Item 10b. above, p17.
11c. Item 18. below, p504.

12a. Micro-organisms & Man., Noble,W.C & Naidoo, J., 1979.
12b. Man meets microbes., Jamison,J.R., 1977.
12c. Item 11a. above, p164.

13. Rape pollen allergy., Colldahl,H., Acta Allergol, 1954:7;367.

14. Rape pollen allergy., Bucur,I & Arner,B., Scandinavian Respiratory Disease, 1978:59;222-227.

15. North American pollinosis due to insect pollinated plants., Lewis,W.H & Vinay,P., Annals of Allergy, 1979:42;309-3 18.

16. Oilseed rape as a potent antigen., Parratt,D et al., The Lancet, 1990:335; 121.

17. Oilseed rape not a potent antigen., Ninan,T.K et al., The Lancet, 1990: 336;808.

18. Oilseed rape; a new allergen?., Fell,P.J et al., Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 1991:22;501-505.

19. Farming Today., Radio 4, broadcasted interview with Seaton, A., (private recording), 8/3/93.

20a Oilseed rape., Seaton,A., Letter published in Scotsman newspaper 13/3/93.
20b. (Private correspondence) Botheroyd, E.M., Health & Safety Executive, 17:9:93. 20c. Item 9b. above, p5.

21a. Allergic to the 20th Century., Taylor,A.N., Horizon transcript, transmitted BBC 1, 10/5/93, p15.
21b. Increase in allergens., Smith,F., Letter published in Scotsman newspaper, 2/6/93. 21c. Item 9b. above, p5.

22a. Overload., Steincamp,J., 1979.
22b. Charles Darwin's health problems: the allergy hypothesis., Smith,F., Journal of The History of Biology, vol 25 No2, Summer 1992, p285-306.
22c. Hypersensitivity, Essential Immunology., Roitt,I.M., 7th edition, 1991, chapter 12.
22d. The big sneeze., Gamlin,L., New Scientist, 2/6/90, p37-41.
22e. Not all in the mind., Mackarness, 1976, p18,77.
22f. Fit to drop., Fitzgerald,A., (BBC fact sheet) 1993.
22g. Item 9b. above, p5.

23a. How science fails the environment., Wynne,B & Mayer,S., New Scientist, 5/6/93, p33-35.
22b. The Rape of Canola, Kneen,B., 1992, p175.
22c. Item 9b. above, p120.
24a. Precautionary principle., Croner’s Environmental Management, April 1992, p1.185.
24b. Item 23a. above, p34.

25. The perils of green pessimism., Milne,A., New Scientist, 12/6/93, p36.

26a. Allergies: Your hidden enemy., Randolph,T & Moss,R., 1981.
26b. Chemical Victims., Mackarness,R., 1980.
26c. Editorial., The Lancet, 3:2:79.
26d. Item 22a.
26e. Item 22b.

27a Allergy and the immune system., Lichtenstein,L.M., Scientific American, Sept 1993; p92.
27b. Dirty air not to blame for asthma., Brown,W., New Scientist, 18:12:93, p5.
27c. Item 3a. above.
27d. Item 22a. above, Guardians for the earth, p206-210.
27e. Item 25. above.
27f. Item 26a above, p217.

28a. Not all in the mind., Mackarness,R., 1976, p38,39,76.
28b. Item 26a. above, 221,222.
28c. Item 26b. above, p25.

Posted by: Deek | Apr 30, 2007 1:55:49 PM

This is Arnie from Canada again. There is sure a lot of information based research posted here and I only skimmed through it. The word 'isocyonate' brought something to mind and I will share it here.
I am 55 and spent most of my life spray painting cars and aircraft . I always bought the best paints avaiable and they used iscocyanates as a drying agent and high gloss . These ingredients are now regarded as highly poisonous. I have sprayed probably a thousand gallons of (Dupont) IMRON aviation paint , often without a mask or proper ventilation (this was during the 1970'S & 80'S) I smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day for 40 years. I eat 4-6 eggs a day , never had margarine in my house ... only butter. Drink 10-20 coffees a day with tripple cream and sugar (I am talking real cream 30% dairy fat ). I often eat a steak a day with most of the fat left on ,

Life is very unfair , many of my friends who remained on the farm , who did not smoke or eat like i do have passed away from such things as breathing (organic) grain dust in the farm bins. Many people who ate margarine instead of butter are suffering the effects of years of exposure to hydrogenated vegetable oils. Some researchers are now saying the hydrogenated vegetable oils will kill 3 times the people as tobacco related deaths.

After I retired from the autobody painting business i have run crop sprayers in Canada spraying 18,000 acres a year of every kind of poison available to agriculture.

Millions of people have had something to eat from these crops . At one time we had only organic farming without fossil fuels of any kind and millions of people died from starvation.

It is hard to say what is worse. Back to my topic , life is so unfair ... I am still alive , still spraying , still smoking ,still polluting and all my healthy living type friends are having all the health issues and dying young.

Sadly , the people who are dying of lung cancers are 51 year old women who have never smoked or been around smokers.


Posted by: Arnie Madsen | May 2, 2007 9:52:28 PM

Hi Arnie,

Yeah, isocyanates (and associated derivatives/compounds) are extremely hazardous to health (respiratory sensitisers).

Title: Mechanisms of occupational asthma induced by isocyanates.
Source: The Annals of occupational hygiene. 1998 Jan; 42(1): 33-6

Isocyanates derived from oilseed rape (canola) are called isothiocyanates. I understand these can be found in the grain dust and in the meal (flour used as animal fodder).

Title: Oilseed rape allergy presented as occupational asthma in the grain industry.
Source: Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 1998 Sep; 28(9): 1159-63.

Title: Oilseed rape flour: another allergen causing occupational asthma among farmers.
Source: Allergy(Allergy.) 2001 Feb; 56(2): 185-8.

Posted by: Deek | May 9, 2007 10:09:01 AM

Hi guys,

Just came across this article pubished today on the BBC News website and thought it worthy of posting an extract (relative to the thread topic): -

A UN report warns that a hasty switch to biofuels could have major impacts on livelihoods and the environment.

...The report warns too of the impacts on nature: "Use of large-scale mono-cropping could lead to significant biodiversity loss, soil erosion and nutrient leaching."

This has been avoided, the report says, in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo where sugar cane farmers are obliged to leave a percentage of their land as natural reserves.

Water is also a concern. The expanding world population and the on-going switch towards consumption of meat and dairy produce as incomes rise are already putting pressure on freshwater supplies, which increased growing of biofuel crops could exacerbate.

In conclusion, UN Energy suggests policymakers should take a holistic look before embarking on drives to boost biofuel use.

"Only through a convergence of biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions and water-use policies can bioenergy find its proper environmental context and agricultural scale," the report concludes.


Posted by: Deek | May 9, 2007 10:26:22 AM

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