HC Deb 28 November 1950 vol 481 cc927-8
24. Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will arrange regular medical examinations for workers employed in factories which discharge fluorine fumes, with a view to ascertaining whether they are suffering injurious effects as a result of their employment in these conditions.

Mr. Isaacs

This subject has been specially investigated by the Medical Research Council, and I would refer the noble Lord to their Report, which was published last year. I am advised by my Senior Medical Inspector of the Factory Department that full precautions are taken in the factories concerned to protect the workers and that medical supervision on an adequate scale is already in being.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

But is the right hon. Gentleman quite satisfied that the paragraph in the Report to which he referred is really receiving attention, namely, that the progressive course of fluorosis is slow? The paragraph says, furthermore, that the changes in the men who are examined should be regarded as a warning that the conditions under which these men work are such as to call for constant vigilance and a determined effort to reduce the amount of exposure to fluorine fumes?

Mr. Isaacs

Yes, and I appreciate the interest of the noble Lord in this matter. We will glady examine any further evidence he can send, but the Question was about medical inspection, and I am satisfied that it is adequate.

Major McCallum

Arising out of the first answer, if there is no danger of gas in these factories, why is it necessary for the Minister's right hon. Friend to bring in the Bill which is now on the Order Paper?

Mr. Charles Williams

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman why the Government have held up this matter so long when everyone in the district knows that the trouble is going on?

Mr. Isaacs

I am not sure that it is held up, but there is a point on which I am responsible, and on which I am answering, and that is as to whether we are giving adequate inspection.

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