HC Deb 09 May 1928 vol 217 cc208-9
16. Sir R. THOMAS

asked the Minister of Labour how many persons are emplayed in painting the dials of luminous watches; what is the composition of the luminous paint applied; whether the work involves wetting brushes with lips or tongue; whether these workers suffer from any occupational disease; if so, what is its nature; and how many persons suffered from it fatally or non-fatally during the last complete year for which particulars are available?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for HOME AFFAIRS (Lieut.-Colonel Sir Vivian Henderson)

I have been asked to reply to this question. The Factory Department only know of three works in which persons are employed continuously in this process. The total number so employed is eight. The process is also carried on intermittently all over the country, chiefly by jobbing watchmakers, but the total amount of time occupied is small. The paints are composed usually of a zinc compound with minute proportions of a radium compound. The work does not involve wetting the brushes with the lips or tongue and the medical inspectors who have been inquiring into the matter, have found no evidence of any occupational disease arising from it.


Has the hon. and gallant Gentleman not seen the report issued from the United States of America showing the large number of the inhabitants of that country who have died owing to this practice?


The hon. Member apparently has not read the report from the "Daily Mail" correctly.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL

Is it not the case that the deaths in America are owing to the fact that they lick the brushes with the tongue or the lips, a practice which is not permitted in this country?


In point of fact, has anybody died in this country as a result of using this paint?


No, Sir.


Is it not the fact that the Government have asked certain firms to have their employés medically examined, and have found no ill-effects at all?


All these eight persons were examined by Government medical officers last week.


Is this paint imported from America or is it home-made?

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