HC Deb 28 January 1963 vol 670 cc571-2
42. Mr. Prentice

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to warn proprietors of hairdressing establishments about the possible danger to health from lacquer hair sprays, and to encourage workers in these establishments to have regular X-ray examinations of their chests.

Mr. Hare

I understand that the Medical Research Council is investigating the possible danger to health from lacquer hair sprays. Meanwhile the Factory Inspectorate is considering the practical problems and is about to consult the interested parties.

Mr. Prentice

Will the Minister keep in touch with the Medical Research Council's investigation into this matter? Can he give any indication of how long it will last? In view of the possible danger to which attention has been drawn in medical circles, would it not be a good idea to warn the employees in these establishments about the importance of having regular X-ray examinations of their chests?

Mr. Hare

I assure the hon. Gentleman that I shall keep in very close touch with the Medical Research Council, but I am not in a position to say how long the deliberations will take. I will look at this question and at the point the hon. Gentleman has put to me. The hon. Gentleman knows that I have powers, if the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Bill now in Standing Committee is finally enacted in its present form, to make Regulations to protect employees from injury to health arising from any substance. This would cover the position if the information from the Medical Research Council made it necessary for me to do this.

Dr. Stross

Will the Minister bear in mind that the danger should not be described as "possible" but "actual" and that there have been a number of dearths in the United States ascribed to the use of lacquer sprays? Is he aware that the X-rays show a similarity with pneumoconiosis, and will he realise that the sooner some action is taken the better?

Mr. Hare

Since the Medical Research Council is looking into this, I think it would be better to get proper medical advice on this matter before taking action. I do not think that there should be too long a delay in getting this information.