HC Deb 23 June 1953 vol 516 cc1659-60
13. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has received from his technical staff to show which detergents are harmful in their effects on the skin particularly in producing eczema, and should therefore be avoided.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

None, Sir.

Mr. Rankin

Could the Minister tell us if there are any periodical analyses conducted by his technical staff in order to ascertain and keep themselves fully informed of any possible change in the constituents of detergents?

Mr. Stewart

I think that is done. I should perhaps inform the hon. Member that the Department of Health chief medical officer advises that while there have been isolated cases of dermititis here and there, and while there have been suggestions made that they might have been caused by detergents, neither the Department, the Ministry of Health, the Minister of Labour nor the Ministry of National Insurance have any positive records to show that dermatitis or eczema is being caused by detergents in general or by any particular types of them.

Sir H. Williams

Will the hon. Gentleman consult with the Minister of Housing and Local Government, who recently appointed a committee to inquire into the effects of detergents and all that sort of thing?

Mr. Stewart

We are in touch with all these developments.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the Minister aware that there have been constant complaints by housewives south of the border, and will he consult with the Ministry of Health to ensure that some independent research through the Medical Research Council is conducted into the constituents of these detergents with a view to removing the fairly widespread anxiety that exists?

Mr. Stewart

I will convey that suggestion to my right hon. Friend.