HC Deb 08 July 1991 vol 194 cc264-5W
Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish in theOfficial Report the maximum permissible levels and monitored levels of (a) tetrachlorodibenzofuran, (b) tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, (c) pentachlorodibenzodioxin, (d) pentachlorodibenzofuran, (e) heptachlorodibenzofuran and (f) octachlorodibenzodioxin, respectively, in parts per million found in the Pontypool area; and what information he has regarding the risks of dioxins and furans to human health.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett

We have engaged the services of the university of East Anglia to undertake an in-depth survey to establish the levels of contamination by PCBs and their degradation products, dibenzo-dioxins and furans, in the Panteg area of Pontypool. The results of that survey will be available in about 18 months and will be widely published on completion.

We have also appointed Professor Lewis Roberts (former Wolfson professor of environmental risk assessment at the university of East Anglia) as our independent adviser for the survey. His role will be to advise us on the methodology and conduct of the survey and, at a later stage, to provide us with advice on its implications.

We have available to us pollution paper No. 17, "Dioxins in the Environment", which is a report of an interdepartmental working group on dioxins and furans. The conclusion of the working group is that a number of adverse health effects have been noted following accidental and occupational exposure to these chemicals, most commonly chloracne. The committee noted that no deaths had been attributed to these chemicals.

The Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) has not found any convincing evidence of a link between exposure to these chemicals and cancer, but recommend a continuing review of the work being undertaken in this field.