Scientific research is largely funded by private commercial organisations, and very little government grants are available for research which shows little commercial viability. Matters affecting public health appear to be last on the research agenda. Public health concerns which impinge on government policy are likely to become an irritation to the government and as a result, any funding granted to support research in this area is often seen only as a tacit acceptance that a problem may exist. This gives the government impetus to dispel public fears without undertaking serious research projects. Once preliminary conclusions have been reached and the results have been published no further action is considered necessary. If similar questions were raised in the future by the general public, they would consistently be reminded of the previously published work which confirmed that no causal link was identified.
Experience has demonstrated that the medical profession itself will not take the necessary steps to initiate funds necessary to carryout a proper controlled study which would take a holistic look at oilseed rape allergy syndrome. It would appear that the public has to act on its own best interest and convince scientists of the need for a holistic approach.
Cameron, Director of Environmental Health, Angus Council, was the first lay-person to initiate government funding for research into reported symptoms. Only after Cameron presented his paper in 1989, was Seaton & Soutar (University of Aberdeen) granted minor funding to conduct a three year study, albeit that this study did not adopt a holistic approach which was so desparately needed.
In July 1998, Parratt advised through a letter published online in the British Medical Journal; 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.
Author - Armitage; copyright 2007
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