§ MR. COGHILL (Stoke-on-Trent)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there was a diminution in the cases of lead poisoning in the pottery trade for the twelve months of 1899, as compared with 1898 and 1897; whether there has been a diminution in the cases of plumbism occurring in the pottery industry since the introduction of the new special rules in 1898; whether information in the possession of the Home Secretary shows that the rule requiring the monthly examination, by the certifying surgeon, of women and young persons has had a beneficial influence in diminishing the cases of plumbism; and whether the examination by a qualified medical man of all workers, whether adult male, women, or young persons, working in the processes connected with lead, was urged upon the Home Office by the china and earthenware manufacturers some years previously to May, 1898.
§ * THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir M. WHITE RIDLEY, Lancashire, Blackpool)
There is a striking diminution of the number of cases of lead poisoning in the pottery trade in 1899 as compared with 1898 and 1897; and, as will be shown by 1371 the Return which at the instance of the hon. Member was ordered yesterday, laid on the Table in dummy to-day, and will be in the hands of Members within a few days, the diminution follows closely on the establishment of the new rules in 1898. There is also, I think, evidence that the rule requiring the monthly medical examination has contributed materially to this result. As regards the last paragraph of the question, I find no official record of the medical examination of all workers having been suggested by the manufacturers before 1898; but I understand that in 1895, when the Factory Bill of the right hon. Gentleman, my predecessor, was before the House, they urged the proposal on their local Members. And I may at all events say that I had the co-operation of the majority of them in establishing the medical examination required by the rules of 1898; and I look forward with confidence to having their co-operation in any extension of it which may be shown to me to be called for.