HC Deb 30 May 1957 vol 571 cc607-8
47. Mr. D. Howell

asked the Prime Minister what advice he has received from his medical and scientific advisers about the fact contained in the Report of the Atomic Energy Research Survey that the bones of a still-born child in Carlisle contained about seven times as much radio-strontium as that found in older people examined at about the same time.

The Prime Minister

The heavier concentration of radiostrontium in the bones of children compared with adults was fully considered in the Medical Research Council's Report. It was for this and other cognate reasons that the maximum permissible level of radiostrontium in the human skeleton accepted by the International Commission on Radiological Protection was regarded as being too high for the general population. The Medical Research Council considered that the maximum concentration of radio-strontium in the bones of the general population, with its proportion of young children, should not be greater than a tenth of the maximum permissible level for adults in special occupations.

Mr. Howell

Is it not disturbing to find such quantities of strontium in a baby that has neither breathed nor fed? Because of this unique factor in human experience, because the Report to which the Prime Minister has referred shows that babies up to one year of age already have 1.2 units of strontium, and because of the growing medical and scientific perturbation about this, will not the Prime Minister refer this matter specifically to his advisers for further very careful scrutiny?

The Prime Minister

Of course, this is a matter which must be continually borne in mind. I would point out that, in the case mentioned, the figure was 0.45 units. That is still a hundred times less than the average allowable level of the amount of radiostrontium in the bones both of children and adults.

Mr. Gaitskell

The Prime Minister has promised, I think more than once, to consider inviting a further report from the Medical Research Council. Would it not help to clarify our minds on all these matters if we could have a further report? Has the right hon. Gentleman made up his mind to get that?

The Prime Minister

Yes, and when it comes I hope that it will be given the weight that is due to it.