HC Deb 16 December 1912 vol 45 cc1102-3

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will inquire as to what length of time each of the seventy seven workmen reported as suffering from lead poisoning in the Swansea district since 1907 had been employed in the spelter industry?


According to the information in the possession of the Home Office, which was in almost all the cases furnished by the workmen themselves at the time the cases occurred—

  • 13 had been employed from 1 to 5 years.
  • 13 had been employed from 6 to 10 years.
  • 10 had been employed from 11 to 15 years.
  • 1103
  • 18 had been employed from 16 to 20 years.
  • 23 had been employed over 20 years.

81. Mr. C. DUNCAN

asked what were the respective ages of the four workmen who died of lead poisoning in the Swan sea district since 1907; and what period of time each workman had followed the employment in which lead poisoning -was contracted?


The ages were 52, 49, 40. and 36; the length of employment 30 years, 28 years, 18 years, and between 5 and 6 years. I should add that in the first and last cases the immediate cause of death was consumption.

82. Mr. C. DUNCAN

asked whether any of the workmen constituting the ten severe cases of lead poisoning, or any of the seventeen workmen who suffered from wristdrop arising from lead poisoning whilst following their occupation as spelter men in the Swansea district since 1907, have ever been restarted by the firms which had previously employed them; if so, what were the wages paid; and what was the nature of the employment?


This information is not in the possession of the Department, and any inquiry for the purpose of obtaining it would occupy so much time that I should not feel justified in taking away an inspector from his proper work of factory inspection for the purpose. I may add that under the new Regulations which came into force in October, 1911, a register of all persons employed in lead processes is required to be kept, and no person who had been suspended from his employment by the appointed surgeon on account of lead poisoning can be re-employed in a lead process without the sanction of the surgeon entered in the register.

83. Mr. C. DUNCAN

asked what proportion the seventy-seven cases of lead poisoning which have occurred since 1907 bear to the number of workmen actually engaged in the smelting of ore in the spelter works in the Swansea district?


The number of persons employed in spelter works in South Wales is approximately 1,000. As the seventy-seven cases of lead poisoning are spread over a period of nearly five years, the incidence of poisoning is between 1 and 2 per cent, per year.