The increasing industrial use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) may not have such a detrimental effect on the environment as the ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), but the new gas does severely damage humans.
Biopsies show that a large proportion of industrial workers repeatedly exposed to HCFCs had livers riddled with disease, including hepatitis (JAMA 1997; 278: 1714).
For the first time in a British court, a judge has found that exposure to pesticides causes long term damage. Mrs Justice Smith found that a Peterborough farmer had experienced neurological problems from exposure to the insecticide Actellic-D (pirimiphos-methyl).
Symptoms include a condition similar to chronic fatigue syndrome. Courts in Hong Kong and Australia have awarded damages for long term effects of organophosphate poisoning, but there are still many more cases of pesticide damage pending in this country (BMJ 1997; 315: 1113).