HC Deb 26 February 1894 vol 21 cc1022-3
MR. PICTON (Leicester)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether The British Medical Journal of 30th December, 1893, was correct in stating that ho had written to Mr. Ernest Hart, Chairman of the Parliamentary Bills Committee of the British Medical Association, in reply to a communication urging protective restrictions on the sale of carbolic acid, and in that reply had promised the serious consideration of the Board; whether he can now state the result of that consideration; and whether he is aware that between the date of his reply to Mr. H art and the 10th of this month 27 deaths from carbolic acid either by suicide or misadventure have been reported by the Press? I desire to supplement the question by asking the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that the Coroner of the South West District of London, at the request of a jury sitting on an inquest on the 20th instant, addressed a letter to the Clerk of the Privy Council urging the necessity for placing carbolic acid in the Schedule of Poisons under the Pharmacy Act; and whether he has seen in this morning's papers the report of a case in which a whole family narrowly escaped poisoning by carbolic acid being poured into the cistern?


The statement in The British Medical Journal referred to in the question is substantially correct. The imposition of protective restrictions on the sale of carbolic acid is a matter for the Privy Council, and the Board have been in communication on the subject with that Department, who I believe have the matter still under consideration. I have communicated with the Registrar General as to the number of deaths from carbolic acid between the 3rd December and the 17th instant. He is not in a position at present to give this information as regards the country generally; but he states that in Loudon during the period referred to out of a total of 28 deaths from accidental poisoning one was duo to carbolic acid, and out of 97 cases of suicide seven were due to poisoning by this acid. I have no information as to the letter stated to have been addressed to the Clerk of the Council. I have seen the report in the newspaper of the case to which my hon. Friend refers.


May we hope that the result of the promised consideration will be the imposition of restrictions on the sale of carbolic acid?


That question must be put to the Privy Council.