Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sheep Dip

Sheep dip refers to a liquid formulation of insecticide and fungicide which shepherds and farmers may use to protect their sheep from infestation against external parasites such as itch mite (Psorobia ovis), blow-fly, ticks, keds and lice.

The dip is available as wettable powders, pastes, solutions or suspensions which are used to prepare diluted solutions or suspensions. The term is used both for the formulation itself, and the trough in which the sheep is dipped. The sheep are completely immersed in the preparation.

The world's first sheep dip was invented and produced by George Wilson of Coldstream, Scotland in 1830. That dip was based on arsenic powder and was exported by Package Steamer from nearby Berwick Upon Tweed.

There are two broad classes of sheep dip: organophosphorus compounds, from which chemical warfare agents were later developed, and synthetic pyrethroids. Organophosphorous compounds are very toxic to humans, as they travel easily through the skin. When traveling over water, containers for these sheep dips are subject to United Nations regulations which state that they must remain legible after immersion in water.

Plunge sheep dips may be a permanent in-ground structure or a steel transportable mobile dip. Invented after the permanent plunge dip was the rotating, power spray dip. These dips are redundant in the major sheep breeding countries, as the backliners and jetting provide a better alternative.

Sheep dips have been found to cause soil contamination and water pollution.

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