HC Deb 13 May 1957 vol 570 cc31-2
48. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Health, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what further evidence he has received from the Medical Research Council on strontium hazards since its report in June, 1955.

Mr. Vosper

Regular measurements are made of radiostrontium levels in this country, and the results are made available from time to time. I am advised by the Medical Research Council that the present evidence does not lead them to modify the conclusions published in their Report in June, 1956. The Council are supporting an increased programme of research on the biological effects of this substance.

Mrs. Castle

Yes, but is the Minister aware that two scientists, Professors Haddow and Penrose, who signed the Medical Research Council Report, have since signed a Report by the Committee of the Atomic Scientists' Association on strontium hazards in which they say that new evidence seems to support the view that there is not a threshold below which there is no danger but that there is a proportional relationship between each extra fall-out of radioactive material and the number of bone cancer cases? In view of this new report by the Atomic Scientists' Association, will the right hon. Gentleman ask the Medical Research Council officially to reconsider the matter with a view to amending its own report?

Mr. Vosper

My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, in answer to a Question last week, said he would consider whether the Medical Research Council should prepare a further report, but the fact remains that all the evidence available to them about the level of radiostrontium is that there has been no appreciable increase in the past few months.

Dr. Summerskill

Could I ask the Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the public controversy which took place during the weekend between eminent authorities on ironising radiation, and therefore is it not desirable that he should reconvene this committee of the Medical Research Council in order to reconsider the position?

Mr. Vosper

Of course I am aware of that controversy, but this Question relates to the evidence received from the Medical Research Council, who advised my noble Friend that there has been no appreciable increase since the report was published.