HC Deb 21 November 1960 vol 630 cc759-60
40. Sir H. Oakshott

asked the Minister of Health what reports he has received of ill-effects on health resulting from dust containing sulphuric acid, believed to emanate from the power station at Bromborough, Cheshire; and if he will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Edith Pitt)

My right hon. Friend has had a letter from my hon. Friend and another from three residents. I am informed that the local authority is investigating the effects of this dust, including its effects on health. Any question of controlling its emission would be for my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

Sir H. Oakshott

I recognise that the responsibility of my hon. Friend's Department is rather limited in this matter. Nevertheless, I would ask her to keep a close watch on this situation, in view of the genuine local anxiety that exists as to the possible effects on health of these emissions of sulphuric dust?

Miss Pitt

In reply to our inquiries, the local Medical Officer of Health for Bebington and Bromborough told us that measures taken earlier this year by the Generating Board to reduce the emission of this dust have not been entirely successful. He stated that there is possibly some evidence of resulting skin irritation, but he does not accept that there is evidence of ulceration of the mouth and nose, blisters and sore throats, as my hon. Friend stated in his letter to my right hon. Friend. Nevertheless, I am sure that my right hon. Friend would wish to assure my hon. Friend that he will keep in touch with the medical officer of health.

Dr. Summerskill

In view of the high incidence of chest complaints in the country, can the hon. Lady say how strong is the liaison between her Department and the Alkali Inspectorate of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government?

Miss Pitt

That is really another question, but, as I implied in my Answer to the Question, responsibility for action rests with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, and where there is a health aspect it is dealt with through the local medical officer of health.