HC Deb 04 April 1882 vol 268 cc666-7

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If his attention has been called to the case of Hannah M'Carthy, who died in the Shoreditch Infirmary, on Thursday last, from lead poisoning; whether he has seen the evidence given at the inquest by Mr. Forbes, medical officer of the Shoreditch Workhouse, who is reported to have said:— Cases of lead poisoning, fatal and otherwise, are of frequent occurrence. The deceased worked at a lead factory in Southgate Road, where she had teen engaged for ten months only. The nature of the work was very deadly.… My experience tells me that the workers in lead factories require more looking after. I have had sixteen cases under my care in a few months, and the worst of it is that the married women who work in lead factories absorb the poison, and give it to the suckling child in the milk; whether he can compel the owners of lead factories to adopt means to prevent what the jury, in their verdict, characterized as "the wholesale poisoning by lead" which now goes on in these places; and, if he has not now sufficient power, whether he will apply to Parliament for any alteration in the Law, so as to afford protection to the lead workers while following their employment?


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to a report in the "Daily News" of yesterday of an inquest held on the body of Hannah M'Carthy, by the coroner for East Middlesex, who died from the effects of lead poisoning after only ten months employment at the lead works, and to the recommendation of the jury the Legislature should at once take steps to compel the proprietors of lead works to provide proper protection to those in their employ; whether the present Factory and Workshops' Acts are sufficient to give the necessary protection to the lives of the people engaged in these deadly works; and, if not, whether he is prepared to ask Parliament for increased power in respect to lead works; and, whether he would consider if it would not be advisable to prohibit the employment of women and young persons in lead works?


Sir, this case has already engaged the attention of my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, who has called for a special Report thereon from the Chief Inspector of Factories. The recommendations of the jury and the suggestions of the hon. Member will receive due consideration.