HC Deb 06 March 1973 vol 852 cc73-4W
60. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of the maximum levels of lead in children and in adults which are considered acceptable by his Department; and whether he will make a statement on the policy of his Department towards ensuring that such levels are not exceeded.

Mr. Alison

For many years a blood lead level of 80 micrograms per 100 millilitres was regarded as being the maximum level which could be tolerated without some risk of harmful symptoms, although industrial workers rarely show symptoms of lead poisoning unless the blood lead is well in excess of this figure. Research has shown that the 80 micrograms level per 100 millilitres which is accepted by industry is not necessarily acceptable for the community as a whole, particularly for children who may be more susceptible than adults. It is therefore the policy of my Department, in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, to keep the community intake of lead as low as is practicable, and to investigate in as much detail as possible the relative importance of the various sources of intake. To this end any special difficulties encountered by medical officers of health are investigated and appropriate action is taken. Details of the studies of specially exposed populations groups will be published in due course.