HC Deb 27 November 1995 vol 267 cc521-2W
Mr. Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contribution his Department made to the conference held by the World Health Organisation in Geneva on 20 to 25 November on the consequence of the Chernobyl accident; how his Department was represented; what British papers were submitted; and if he will make a statement on the outcome of the conference. [2775]

Mr. Sackville

At the World Health Organisation conference, on 20 to 23 November, on the consequences of the Chernobyl accident my Department was represented by an official and also by the medical assistant director of the National Radiological Protection Board who assisted in the organisation of the conference. The NRPB assistant director was a member of the technical advisory meeting held in February 1995 and the paper selection meeting in July 1995. The medical department at the NRPB has also contributed to the production of the technical summary of the international programme of the health effects of the Chernobyl accident and the forthcoming full report to be published in April 1996.

British papers were presented by Professor D. Williams of Cambridge university and Professor T. Lee of St. Andrews university, on thyroid cancer and psycho-social effects respectively.

The conference was attended by over 350 participants from 38 countries. The most important aspects were thyroid cancer, psycho-social effects and epidemiological studies. There is a real increase in childhood thyroid cancers in Belarus, the Russian Federation and the Ukraine. The conference agreed that there is a need to continue the co-ordinated international support to determine the exact nature of causation and ensure optimal therapy. The non-radiogenic psycho-social impact resulting from extensive relocation of the populations from contaminated areas has produced the most significant overall morbidity so far. Participants agreed with the need to continue with well controlled epidemiological studies of those affected.

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