HC Deb 15 April 1991 vol 189 c18
41. Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what advice has been given by the occupational health service to civil servants required to visit the Gulf region in the course of their official duties.

Mr. Renton

No general advice has been issued. The occupational health service gives advice accompanied by appropriate briefing and leaflets to all civil servants travelling abroad as and when required.

Mr. Dalyell

Would it be unduly alarmist to suggest that civil servants, service men and the local population, who are subject to hydrogen sulphide and mixtures of chlorine and hydrocarbons, risk cancer or leukaemia? In those circumstances, will the Minister undertake to look at the statements of Professor Nicholas Wright of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, which suggest that no research is being done along those lines? Should not the Government find out the effects of unprecedented oil fires on human health?

Mr. Renton

I know of no specific evidence that the hon. Gentleman could adduce to back up the remarks that he has just made. However, the booklet, "Keeping healthy overseas", which is issued by the civil service occupational health service to all civil servants travelling abroad, gives some specific advice. When I was working in the private sector and travelled abroad a great deal for my employers, I was never issued with any such booklet.