HC Deb 29 October 1953 vol 518 cc407-8W
Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Health what researches have been made to determine how much of the sulphur oxides and other gaseous contents of fog are removed from inspired air by the use of a dry gauze mask.

Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Health what research is being conducted in the use of suitable respirators to combat thick fog; and how far he is advised that surgical gauze or chiffon scarves are reasonably efficacious.

Mr. Iain Macleod

There has been extensive research, both here and abroad, on protection from the toxic solid and gaseous contents of air in different conditions. Respirators to achieve this have been known for many years; they are of rather elaborate canister types, something like those used in the Forces. But the real problem of the "smog" is that of persons—and particularly old persons—suffering from weaknesses of the lungs or heart, as last winter showed, and further research is needed to determine what respirators could be safely worn by such people for long periods, this is going on actively amongst the out-patients of a large hospital.

As to surgical gauze masks and chiffon scarves, I am advised that they would be of little or no value in absorbing the toxic gases, although like any other comparable form of improvised protection they would impede some of the solid particles in a fog.

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