DEFRA REQ 3- emails between VLA and Rhodia

Email correspondence between VLA and Rhodia regarding dead birds/Rattlechain and White phosphorus




Can you release all correspondence recorded in emails between the Veterinary Laboratories Agency and Rhodia UK Limited/Rhodia Consumer specialities in regard to their Rattlechain lagoon/dead birds and white phosphorus poisoning of wildfowl issue?


We wondered what information, if any had been exchanged between Rhodia and the VLA, especially concerning white phosphorus poisoning.


DEFRA responded with several attachments, many of which we had already seen.

“I enclose a copy of the information you requested. It is in the form of a series of emails and attachments. The documents have been numbered to show their chronology and relationship to each other. The documents are listed in annex A.

Annex A – index of documents

1 Rattlechain report        (An email from Tom Dutton dated 25th September 2009 of Rhodia to someone in the VLA enclosing a letter and the first Harlan laboratories report- a dead rattlechain swan.)

1-1 P4 test letter 230909    ( An attachment  letter sent out from Tom Dutton of Rhodia to someone in the VLA to accompany the report which confirmed exposure to white phosphorus in a swan- the first to do so.) This letter was sent out to several individuals including myself and forms part of this companies attempt to distort the truth about the levels of waste in the lagoon and its links with bird mortality.

1-2 0071-0783 The Harlan laboratories report which confirms exposure of white phosphorus to this swan.

2 Rattlechain letter  (An email from Tom Dutton with another 3 attachments letter about the p4 tested goose tissues, an update on their so called “options” report and another Harlan laboratories report.)

2-1 Rattlechain Dec 09 letter    (A letter concerning the trial laying of a geotextile membrane)

3 P4 test Dec_09 (Letter from Tom Dutton concerning the finding of white phosphorus in a canada goose, with references to the attached Harlan report.)

3-1 0071-0785 A Harlan laboratories report confirming exposure to white phosphorus in the dead rattlechain canada goose.

4 Rattlechain_April 2010 A letter from Rhodia concerning their geo textile membrane test report.

4-1 Report on trial installation of Geofabrics –V2 NB there is no mention of toxic white phosphorus in this report. “The sediments at the Rattlechain lagoon may be posing an unsatisfactory risk of harm to the local wildfowl population….” No $hit Sherlock!

5 Coot P4 Analysis (Email from Tom Dutton to VLA dated 29th April 2010 requesting if they can have samples from coot “Although I don’t think this is necessary, my bosses within Rhodia do!”

6 P4 duck_coot_June09  NB DATE ON THIS PDF IS WRONG. Letter from Tom Dutton, JULY 2010 confirming p4 found in duck and Coot refered to in previous email. IT WAS WORTH IT!

6-1 0071-0786 A Harlan laboratories report confirming exposure to white phosphorus in the dead rattlechain duck and coot.

7 Tissues to be collected An email exchange concerning collection of tissues by Rhodia from the VLA for two dead mallards and a black headed gull.

8 Tissues to be collected 1 A continuation of the previous exchange- not much info here.

9 Rhodia duck samples 17112010 Email from Rhodia to VLA dated 4/2/11 requesting collection of duck and gull samples for 9/2/11. NB these birds had been submitted to the VLA in November the previous year.

We were not clear if these were ALL of the historic exchanges between the company and the VLA before 25th September 2009 had been supplied. In particular early emails involving Aiden Foster of VLA Shrewsbury who had carried out some of the earlier post mortems and Tom Dutton of Rhodia. By now the VLA had transfered to the AHVLA.


 “I have been reliably advised that the majority of communication between VLA and Rhodia was carried out over the telephone, of which there is no record; no previous correspondence was found after a thorough search of the emails; had there been any email correspondence prior to this date, the likelihood is that they will have been destroyed in accordanced with VLA’s email management guidelines.

The outcome of the review is that VLA does not hold any other communications before the aforementioned date. VLA has provided you with all the information it holds relating to this case.”


The earlier interface between Rhodia and the VLA would have been interesting to learn. As it is, the information supplied in the reports gave a wider audience to these documents, which is a welcome thing. The PR spin in the accompanying letters is a different matter altogether and shows how this company operate in terms of trying to twist the science to support their own denials. We have looked at these carefully and our view of them can be read here.