HC Deb 17 April 1957 vol 568 cc1922-3
46. Mrs. Butler

asked the Prime Minister the estimated level to which strontium 90 in human bone in the United Kingdom will be raised by the forthcoming British hydrogen bomb tests.

The Prime Minister

I do not expect our tests to cause any significant increase in the level of strontium 90 in human bone.

Mrs. Butler

Is the Prime Minister aware that there is considerable difference of opinion upon this question among scientists, and that some of them are taking a very grave view of the present situation, including the Japanese physicist, Professor Doke, who claims that we shall have passed the safe dose within five years without any further tests taking place? In view of the possibility that that might be a correct estimate, will not the Prime Minister agree to suspend our tests so as to try to halt this appalling maiming and slaughter of the innocents by the hydrogen bomb?

The Prime Minister

That is part of the subject of our debate today. Meanwhile, I must repeat the information which was given to me and which I believe I stated before. The present averages measured in the United Kingdom are 0.67 of a unit for children under five years of age, and much less for the rest of the population. It shows hardly any increase over the past year. The International Commission on Radiological Protection accepted 1,000 units as the maximum allowable level for workers in special occupations, and the Medical Research Council concluded that the maximum allowable concentration for members of the general population should not be greater than 100 units. I must repeat that the present average is 0.67 of a unit.