§ Mr. Duffy
Crocidolite, the blue asbestos, has not been supplied for use in Her Majesty's ships since 1966, when the hazards associated with it became known. There is still an occasional requirement to remove it from some of the older ships during refits to enable surveys, repairs or modifications to be carried out. Appropriate precautions are taken on such occasions.
§ Mr. Bean
asked the Secretary of State for Defence in view of the recent work of Professor Irving Selikoff, Director of the Environmental Sciences Laboratory at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, in medically examining workers from the navy yard at Groton, Connecticut, United States of America, if he will advise present and former employees of Her Majesty's Dockyards to be checked for asbestosis.
§ Mr. Duffy
An intensive research and surveillance programme of all dockyard employees and Service personnel who are or have been exposed to asbestos has been carried out since 1965 by specialist medical officers of the Royal Navy. Part of this work has been in conjunction with the Medical Research Council, the Pneumoconiosis Research Unit and latterly with the Employment Medical Advisory Service Survey. This effort has been backed up by a comprehensive health education programme and by articles in the dockyard newspapers and the local Press. I am satisfied that adequate publicity has been given to encourage those who may have been exposed to asbestos to seek medical advice.
The work of Professor Selikoff in this field over the years is, of course, well known to us.