Questions marks over safety of products widely used to control plants and animals considered to be pests.

An industrial accident at a chemical manufacturing plant in Seveso in northern Italy in 1976 highlighted at that time the dangers of dioxins, found in weed killers and pesticides, to human health. 

Recent studies have shown that a percentage of children of United States GIs (Ground Infantry soldiers) were born with genetic abnormalities ten years after their fathers were exposed to Agent Orange after the Vietnam War. Why then are pesticides such as SBK Brushwood Killer still available to buy in Irish hardware shops? 

Patrick Lenehan, owner of Lenehan's Hardware on Dublin’s Capel Street says that there is a limited sale of this product, as it should only be used in specific circumstances.

He did have concerns after the Seveso disaster, and has received guidelines from SBK’s manufacturer regarding its use, but no information at all from the Department of Agriculture, 

We would certainly welcome any guidelines from the government on this particular product.

Farmers and foresters are perhaps the most likely people to purchase chemical brushwood killers. Keith Wilkinson has used a brushwood killer containing 245T around his farm over the years. 

Keith Wilkinson thought twice about using the highly effective product after he developed a rash, and stopped using it altogether following the incident in Seveso, 

They really don’t tell you it’s dangerous. They don’t publicise it.

This report for 'Week Out’ was broadcast on 14 March 1980. The reporter is Pat Kenny.