§ Mrs. Bain
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what has been the level of his Department's expenditure on research into the causes and incidence of occupational cancers in each year from 1970 to the latest available date;824W
(2) if he will give details of the research currently being undertaken by his Department into the incidence of occupational cancers in Great Britain.
§ Mr. John Grant
, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th December 1977; Vol. 941, c. 190], gave the following information:
Departmental expenditure into occupational cancer falls into two parts—epidemiological surveys carried out by the Employment Medical Advisory Service and, since 1973, research commissioned by EMAS or the Health and Safety Executive with other bodies, mainly the Medical Research Council but including other institutions such as the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell, and the National Radiological Protection Board.
I am informed by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that epidemiological surveys have been carried out by the Employment Medical Advisory Service during the period into the rubber and cable making industry, vinyl chloride, vinyl benzene, carbon black and asbestos. Since the cost of these are subsumed into the total budget of the Health and Safety Executive, it is impossible to give accurate costings for each of them, but the annual expenditure on this activity over the period in question has been in the order of £200,000 of which the greater part has been spent on the asbestos survey.
The Medical Research Council informs me that its expenditure on EMAS 'HSE commissioned research has been as follows: 1974–75, £70,000; 1975–76, £120,500; 1976–77, £144,293. Expenditure with AERE in 1976–77 totalled £1,449 and with NRPB £6,956. A list of commissioned projects is attached.
PROJECTS RELATING TO OCCUPATIONAL CANCER COMMISSIONED BY THE HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE WITH THE MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
- 1. Host and accessory factors in the development and progression of asbestos-related pulmonary diseases.
- 2. Development of immunological techniques for surveillance of populations at high risk of developing asbestos cancers.
- 3. The toxic effects and metabolism of carbon disulphide in rats for the development of methods of studying metabolism and mutagenic activity of volatile agents.
- 4. The application of established bacterial repair and mutation systems to a series of compounds considered as potential carcinogenic hazards.
- 5. The development of mammalian cell mutation/variant systems for compounds requiring metabolic activation.
- 6. The metabolic activation of carcinogens by mammalian cell or organ cultures.
- 7. An evaluation of the recessive-lethal test in drosophila as a prescreen for carcinogens.
- 8. An evalution of the "Sister Chromatid Exchange" method in mammalian (including human) cells as a screening test for carcinogens.
- 9. Degranulation as an empirical carcinogen screen.
- 10. In-vitro enhancement of hepatic microsomal biphenyl 2-hydroxylation as a possible short term test for carcinogenic chemicals.