Georgina Downs - UK Pesticides Campaign - Home Page

Pesticide Exposures for People in Agricultural Areas

“People move to the countryside thinking it will be a healthy environment to bring up their children and do not know about the dangers and risks inherent in the spraying of poisonous chemicals on surrounding fields, until they themselves suffer adverse effects on their health”

Georgina Downs

NEW - PRESS RELEASE - (14th April 2015) - Response to the Green Party's manifesto pledge to prohibit the use of crop pesticides in the locality of residents' homes, schools, children's playgrounds   - Adobe PDF

NEW - See Georgina's article in the Ecologist entitled "Negligent and unlawful: EFSA's latest guidance on pesticide use and exposure"

NEW - See Georgina's article in the Ecologist entitled "Agricultural pesticides - the gaping hole in the UK's 'Pollinator Strategy'"

NEW - Georgina was recently shortlisted in the Observer Ethical Awards "Local Hero" category. The award was decided by public votes and Georgina came second against a strong field of nominees. Georgina says "Thanks to everyone that voted for me, tweeted, facebooked, spread the word etc. as your support is very much appreciated. The campaign will continue pressing for the necessary and urgent measures to protect residents for now, and for future generations."

NEW - Jamie Oliver tweets his support for Georgina's campaign and work

See Georgina's article in the Ecologist entitled "Pesticides can cause cancer - so why does CRUK ignore them?"

See Georgina's article in the Ecologist entitled "Pesticides - the Government must protect us!"

See Georgina's article in Natural News entitled "UK Government's pesticides reform doesn't go far enough"

See the article in the Farmers Guardian that covers the significant victory for Georgina's campaign

PRESS RELEASE - Significant victory for Georgina as the Government is to finally change the policy approach for assessing the risk to public health from pesticides   - Adobe PDF

See the UK Pesticides Campaign's response to the Environmental Audit Committee report - 5th April 2013

See the UK Pesticides Campaign's evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry

See Georgina's contribution to the Guardian's Eco Audit on 27th September 2012

See Georgina's letter to the Chair of the Pesticides Forum regarding some serious issues with the Pesticides Forum annual reports   - Adobe PDF

See the UK Pesticides Campaign's submission to the 2012 DEFRA Consultation on the draft UK National Action Plan (NAP) for pesticides

Urgent Rural residents and others exposed to toxic pesticides make your voices heard in DEFRA Pesticides Consultation which is only open until 22nd October 2012

PRESS RELEASE - Coalition Government's announcement on pesticides issued today is a disgrace, says leading environmental campaigner   - Word document

See Georgina's article in the Ecologist entitled "The pesticides scandal: Government inaction is destroying lives," 22nd October 2010 - Read here

PRESS RELEASE - Chemical farming is costing the country billions of pounds, Government told - Download Word Doc

See the UK Pesticides Campaign's submission to the 2010 DEFRA Consultation - Document 1 (Sections 1 to 3) - Document 2 (Section 4)

Urgent – Rural residents and others exposed to toxic pesticides make your voices heard in DEFRA Pesticides Consultation which is only open until 4th May 2010 - Download Word Doc

See Georgina's article in the Guardian entitled "Why I'm taking my case to protect the public from pesticides to the European Courts," dated 25th January 2010 - Read here

PRESS RELEASE - Damning factual evidence that exposes the UK Government's fundamental failure to protect the public from pesticides is published today for the first time - Adobe PDF

Critical factual evidence and arguments relied upon in Georgina's Judicial Review legal case is now available - Read here

Click here to read Georgina's Letter to the Court of Appeal Judges, dated 2nd July 2009 - Adobe PDF

PRESS RELEASE - 7th July 2009 Pesticides public health scandal whitewash following bizarre Court of Appeal judgment, as campaigner vows to fight on to the House of Lords. - word document

See Georgina's full statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice - word document

Click here to read Georgina's address to the Judges during the Court of Appeal hearing in May - Adobe PDF

See Georgina's article regarding her High Court victory in the February 2009 edition of the Ecologist magazine   - Adobe PDF

UK Government's arrogance and contempt for rural residents continues as DEFRA to appeal High Court ruling   - Adobe PDF

Historic Victory for Georgina in her Landmark High Court Action as Government Policy on Pesticides is Ruled Unlawful

Georgina named a "Woman of the Year"

Georgina wins the Observer's Secret Pioneers poll

Georgina nominated in new Inspiration Awards for Women - To support Georgina and the UK Pesticides Campaign click here to add your vote

Georgina's landmark High Court action against the UK Government begins today - Tuesday 15th July - Click here to see Georgina's address to the Judge   - Adobe PDF

Georgina wins the Daily Mail's Inspirational Eco Woman Of The Year Award

See Georgina interviewed on BBC 6 o'clock news (16th May 2008) regarding the new European pesticide proposals

See BBC News article regarding the new European pesticide proposals

Click here to see a brief overview of the new European pesticide policy proposals   - Word document | Adobe PDF

June 2008 special Eco-Chic issue of Marie Claire magazine includes Georgina in its "Action Heroes" feature (pages 191-196 of the magazine) - Click here for further info

Georgina nominated in the Daily Mail's Inspirational Women Of The Year Awards

See Georgina's article in the September 2007 edition of the Ecologist magazine entitled “If I were in charge of the UK's pesticides policy.....”   - Adobe PDF

Georgina granted permission by judge to challenge the Government's pesticide policy in the High Court - Listen Again to Radio 4's Woman's Hour that featured the story

Article by Georgina entitled "Why I am taking legal action against the Government over pesticides"   - Word document | Adobe PDF

Georgina nominated in this year's Great Briton Awards 2006. To support Georgina and the UK Pesticides Campaign click here to add your vote

Georgina wins Cosmopolitan magazine's 2006 Heroine Award   - Word document | Adobe PDF

Click here to see article entitled "Pesticide Nun" profiling Georgina and her campaign that appears in the April 2006 issue of Ecologist magazine (   - Adobe PDF (8MB)

Georgina wins prestigious award at the 2006 British Environment and Media Awards (BEMAs)   - Word document

Georgina listed in Top 20 Power Players in UK Farming

A Breath Of Fresh Air?

Campaign Information and Objectives

Campaign Background

Bystander Risk Assessment  - Background information

DEFRA Consultation on crop-spraying  - Information and links

Georgina Downs' submission to the Consultation

Royal Commission On Environmental Pollution Consultation on Crop-Spraying and Public Meeting

Georgina Downs' submission to the Royal Commission's pesticides and bystander exposure study

Pesticide Exposures - UK and International Policy Failings Presentation given by Georgina Downs at the conference "Science, Medicine and the Law" on 1st February 2005 and the Green Party conference on 3rd March 2005   - Powerpoint slides (600KB)

and accompanying commentary   - Word document

Video - Pesticide Exposures for People in Agricultural Areas  - Part 1: Pesticides in the Air | Part 2: The Hidden Costs

Comprehensive Review of Pesticide Research Confirms Dangers

See Alun Michael's announcement following the DEFRA Consultation on crop-spraying and Georgina Downs' response in the Press Release "A Legal Poisoning?"

Today the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution published their report “Crop Spraying and the Health of Residents and Bystanders.” So, what will the Royal Commission’s recommendations really mean for rural residents and communities?   - Word document

Launch edition of Lifescape magazine October 2005 features Georgina's campaign   - Adobe PDF

"Buffer Zones - How Big Should They Be?" Presentation given by Georgina Downs at the meeting "Putting the RCEP Into Practice" on 16th November 2005   - Powerpoint slides (900KB)

and accompanying commentary   - Word document

See Georgina Downs' submission to the National Pesticides Strategy Consultation Document   - Word document

See summary of the Committee on Toxicity's (COT) discussion of the Royal Commission's report on 14th February 2006   - Adobe PDF

and Georgina's comments to the COT, as an observer   - Adobe PDF

Georgina assesses the links between pesticides and ME in new article published in June 2006 edition of Interaction, the magazine of the charity Action for ME (AFME)   - Adobe PDF

Georgina has article on pesticide exposure published in April 06 edition of Outlooks on Pest Management   - Adobe PDF

Georgina meets EU Commissioner for Health and informs him of UK Government complacency over pesticides   - Word document

Press Releases

The following are links to the relevant websites, for other formats (plain text, Word document and Adobe PDF) click the corresponding link:

A Breath of Fresh Air?  - 18/3/03   Text | Word | PDF

Toxic Politics  - 15/9/03   Text | Word | PDF

Paying to be Poisoned  - 3/11/03   Text | Word | PDF

A Rural Idyll?  - 20/1/04   Text | Word | PDF

Action on Pesticides Needed Now  - 25/4/04   Text | Word | PDF

A Legal Poisoning?   - 16/6/04   Text | Word

Chief Scientific Advisor Did Not See Vital Evidence Prior to DEFRA Decision on Crop Spraying  - 3/8/04   Text | Word

Figures published by the Government do not give a true representation of the numbers of reports of adverse effects from pesticide exposure  -   Text | Word

Pesticides Campaigner urges Government to assess cases of prostate cancer  -   Text | Word

Pesticides campaigner accuses Government of inconsistency following the immediate withdrawal of products containing Sudan 1 and the lack of any action to prevent human exposure to pesticides  -   Text | Word

Disagreements amongst members of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides over the safety of pesticides continues with the publication of Minority Statement   -   Text | Word

Government criticised over pesticides as EFRA Committee recommend the prioritisation of pesticide issues in new report   - 4th April 2005   Text | Word

Rural residents disappointed by delay on Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's report on pesticides  -   Text | Word

New Parkinson's research highlights flaws in regulatory controls for pesticides  -   Text | Word

Campaigner calls for urgent action to protect children, as new study highlights illnesses from pesticides sprayed in and around schools  -   Text | Word

A Right Royal Poisoning  -   Text | Word

Key Government Advisor's (the ACP) Criticised Over Pesticides  -   Text | Word

Government continues to ignore Key Stakeholders (rural residents and communities) and the health impacts of pesticides, in new National Pesticides Strategy  -   Text | Word

Calls for immediate action to protect people from pesticides as study finds the risk of Parkinson’s disease 70 % higher for those exposed to pesticides  -   Word document

Leading Pesticides Campaigner gives damning verdict of Government report on the health risks of pesticides  -   Word document

Leading pesticides campaign calls for action as preliminary study findings show pesticide exposure damages the same brain areas linked to epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s   - Word document

Related Articles

A Perfectly Legal Poisoning  - Sunday Telegraph 23/3/03

Georgina's Fight Against Toxic Peril  - The Observer 13/4/03

Suffering and Tragedy in a Kent Village  - The Observer 13/4/03

Can We Have a Breath of Fresh Air?  - The Observer 13/4/03

It's Safer in a Hive  - Sunday Telegraph 4/5/03

Campaigner Steps up Pesticide Fight  - The Argus 23/7/03

Whitewash for Crop Sprays  - Sunday Telegraph 31/8/03

Families' Lives Poisoned by Crop-spraying  - The Observer 2/5/04

Pesticide Platitudes  - Sunday Telegraph 20/6/04

Defra snubs the young crusader  - Sunday Telegraph 8/8/04

School Study Sparks Pesticide Row  - BBC News 27th July 2005

Crop Spraying is Health Risk, say Scientists  - Sunday Times 11th September 2005

How Living Near a Farm is Bad for Your Health  - Daily Mail 22nd September 2005

Downs is Dangerous  - Sunday Telegraph 25th September 2005

Danger Zone  - The Guardian 28th September 2005

Fury at 16ft Farm Spray Safety Zone  - The Argus 29th September 2005

Study reveals pesticides link to Parkinson’s  - The Sunday Times 25th June 2006

Study shows Parkinson's disease link to pesticides  - The Times 26th June 2006

Pesticides dramatically increase risk of Parkinson's  - Daily Mail 25th June 2006

Judgment day for pesticide crusader  - The Observer 16th July 2006

Breathing pesticides 'can trigger MS and Parkinson's disease'  - Daily Mail 9th August 2006

Other Related Media

Illness Blamed on Crop-spraying  - BBC News 16/4/03

Too Close for Comfort  - BBC Breakfast News 5/8/03

Something Sinister in the Fields  - BBC Politics Show East 11th July 2004

Protect the Public from Pesticides  - Letter to the Editor, Daily Telegraph 28th May 2005

Pesticide Exposure for People in Agricultural Areas  - Science in Parliament magazine Spring Edition 2005 - Word document

Pesticides  - BBC Breakfast - 22nd September 2005

Protection from Pesticides  - Letter to the Editor, The Guardian - 27th September 2005


Inspirational Voice  - FOE Earthalert PDF Pages 12-15 - Summer 2003

photo by Ayla Akdemir
Georgina at the High Court
Georgina at the High Court during her 4 day hearing against the UK Government in July 2008
Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan Magazine
Georgina recieves award
Georgina receiving her Heroine Award at the Cosmopolitan Fun Fearless Female Awards, pictured with award presenter
photo by Simply Photography
Georgina recieves award
Georgina receiving her BEMA from Alistair McGowan (right) and campaign guru, Chris Rose (left)
photo by Drew Gardner
Georgina and Ray
Georgina Downs and her father Ray regularly exposed to toxic pesticides in their air and living environment
copyright Georgina Downs
Georgina and Ray
Georgina's video featured a "family" of mannequins, made up of a pregnant woman, two babies and a young child to illustrate pesticide exposure for rural residents and communities. A worker is legally allowed to know what chemicals they are using, the potential health effects and are required to wear protective equipment. Yet members of the public, breathing in the very same air, are not
copyright Georgina Downs
Georgina and Ray
Georgina and Ray
Currently farmers are legally allowed to spray right up to the open window of any occupied premises, whether it be a house, a school, a home for the elderly or any office or workplace
photo courtesy of Getmapping plc

photo by Billy Ridgers

photo by Andrew Hasson (not for reproduction)

Contact: Georgina Downs

Tel: 01243 773846


Website Designed by Georgina Downs and Tom Barrett