HC Deb 04 November 2002 vol 392 cc65-6W
Matthew Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set up a public inquiry into the health risks of the release of zinc cadmium sulphide and radio-xenon from the atomic research establishment, Harwell, by scientists from the chemical and biological defence establishment, Porton Down, in 1961; and if he will make a statement. [78155]

Dr. Moonie

I do not consider it necessary to set up a public inquiry. In 1999, the Ministry of Defence commissioned Professor Peter Lachmann and a team of distinguished scientists to undertake an independent review of the fluorescent particle trials which occurred between 1955 and 1963, and included the four two-hour trials which also involved the release of133 Xenon at Harwell in 1961. The MOD accepts the conclusion of this review, which was that "Exposure to cadmium from dissemination of zinc cadmium sulphide during the 'cold war' should not have resulted in adverse health effects in the United Kingdom population". The findings of the review are summarised in an open literature paper entitled, "The Risk to the UK Population of Zinc Cadmium Sulphide Dispersion by the MOD During the "Cold War" (Occup. Environ. Med. 2002, 59, 13–17). Additionally, the complete review can be found at www.mod.uk/publications/ zinc-cadmium.