§ Mr. Macdonald
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will fund further research into the possible link between the incidence of ME in rural communities and the use of organophosphate sheep dips. 
§ Mrs. Browning
I have been asked to reply.
Following a recommendation of the Veterinary Products Committee, the Government set up the medical and scientific panel as a sub-committee of the VPC to advise, among other matters, on any additional work that may be needed to elucidate the potential long-term effects on humans of organophosphorus sheep dips. With the advice of the panel, the Government awarded £500,000 to the Institute of Occupational Health in Edinburgh for such research. The results of that study are expected to be completed in April 1999. Meanwhile my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health will study any reports he receives on possible higher than average levels of ME in rural communities.172W