HC Deb 08 March 1955 vol 538 cc146-7
58. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Labour if, in view of the high incidence of lung cancer deaths among men employed for over 20 years in conditions exposing them to asbestos dust, he will make a special inquiry into the incidence of this disease among men of long standing in the asbestos industry and in industries using asbestos fibre.

Mr. Watkinson

No, Sir, such an inquiry is not necessary. The information required for preventive purposes has for many years been obtained by my Department by detailed investigations into fatal cases of cancer of the lungs following prolonged exposure to asbestos dust. These investigations are continuing year by year.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that a body of doctors recently held an inquiry among the men who have been working in this industry for over 20 years and found, as they stated, 10 times more men suffering from lung cancer in this industry than they had expected? This is a serious position. Will the hon. Gentleman make a special inquiry into the circumstances of men who have been working in this industry for a long time?

Mr. Watkinson

I should be very glad if the hon. Gentleman would let me have that information. We keep the industry very carefully under review because its dangers are well known, and we can at any time, therefore, regard ourselves as being reasonably up to date with our research and with development in the industry.

Mr. Boardman

Can the Minister say whether there is a periodic examination of these men in this dusty industry?

Mr. Watkinson

I think that is so.