In the last five years there have been 424
cases of Scrapie in Scotland and 350 of these were in Shetland.
The only unique factor I can come up with
for Shetland is benzene from the petrochemical industry. Crude
Oil is worth a lot more on the international market if the
benzene content is low and my suspicion is benzene is being
vented from tankers off Shetland.
The same procedure would account for the
high incidence of Scrapie in Southern Norway.
Throughout the UK vCJD and CJD are distributed
in urban areas and along motorways. Until very recently road
tankers returning empty to the depot routinely vented residual
vapours while travelling along motorways. The mechanism is
activated by a red foot pedal in the driver's cab.
The hazard of handling benzene was one of
the grievances addressed in the tanker drivers' dispute in
2000. High levels of this dangerous hydrocarbon, particularly
in super-unleaded, were causing sickness to tanker drivers
and also corrosion to aluminium couplings on tanker pipes.
It is interesting to note that benzene is
totally banned from road fuel in the USA and the level tolerated
in the rest of Europe is much lower than in the UK.
At the beginning of December last year my
concerns about benzene poisoning were passed to Margaret Beckett
and I am currently awaiting a reply.