HC Deb 30 June 1966 vol 730 cc2183-4
43. Mr. Hooson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken to minimise the possibility of sodium chlorate in a powdered form being used by children to create home-made explosives.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Miss Alice Bacon)

The trade is encouraged to adopt suitable safeguards, such as labelling, and to exercise great care before selling this substance to young people. Suitable publicity is also addressed from time to time to science teachers in schools, and the Inspectors of Explosives constantly draw attention to this problem in their annual reports, in articles in scientific journals and in other ways. However, my right hon. Friend proposes to ask his Standing Advisory Committee on Dangerous Substances to consider as soon as it can, whether any further action might usefully be taken.

Mr. Hooson

While I express my gratitude to the right hon. Lady for that reply, is she aware that 242 injuries to young persons have been caused by this explosive in the last ten years? Would not the simple expedient be not to prevent the making of this explosive but to insist that its sale as a weed killer is only in liquid form?

Miss Bacon

I have written to the hon. and learned Gentleman about this and, as he knows, to make this into liquid form presents certain difficulties because if it is too much diluted it is no use as a weed killer.