HC Deb 25 June 2003 vol 407 cc834-6W
Dr. Kumar

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evidence he has collated on possible links between industrial processes and installations and specific cancers, broken down by (a) cancer type and (b) geographic region; and if he will make a statement. [120630]

Miss Melanie Johnson

I have been asked to reply.

For people occupationally exposed to industrial processes, I am advised by the Health and Safety Executive that the highest profile industrial processes definitively linked to cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, are as follows.

Industrial process Cancer type
Aluminium Production Lung, bladder
Destructive distillation of coal Skin, bladder, respiratory tract
Iron and steel founding Lung
Boot and shoe manufacture and repair Nose
Furniture and cabinet making Nose
Manufacture of isopropyl alcohol Paranasal sinuses
Production of paint and work as a painter (and decorator) Lung cancer
Manufacture of rubber and rubber compounds Bladder
Manufacture of dyes containing aromatic amines Bladder
Manufacture of mustard gas Lung, upper respiratory tract

In addition, there are many agents and substances that have been proved to cause cancer, irrespective of industrial process. The highest profile of these are:

Agent or substance Cancer type
Asbestos Lung, pleura, peritoneum
Ionising radiation Wide variety including breast, leukaemia, lung, thyroid
Benzene Leukaemia
Chromium VI compounds Lung
Nickel compounds Lung, nose
Vinyl chloride Liver
Coal tar pitches Lung
Arsenic and arsenical compounds Skin, lung
Ultraviolet radiation Skin
Bischloromethyl ether Lung
Mineral acid mists Larynx
Diesel engine exhaust Lung
Cadmium Lung

There are hundreds of other chemicals and processes for which there is some evidence of a link with cancer, but for which a causal association has not been confirmed.

The Government have funded a number of studies by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit at Imperial College, London, of cancer rates in people living near industrial installations. Details of the cancers and the geographical regions studied are given in the published reports of these studies, details of which are given.

Cancer incidence and mortality near the Baglan Bay petrochemical works, South Wales; by S. Sans, P. Elliott, I. Kleinschmidt, G. Shaddick, S. Pattenden, P. Walls, C. Grundy and H. Dolk, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine (1995), volume 52, pages 217–224.

Lympho-haematopoeitic malignancy around all industrial complexes that include major oil refineries in Great Britain; by P. Wilkinson, B. Thakrar, P. Walls, M. Landon, S. Falconer, C. Grundy and P. Elliott, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine (1999), volume 56, pages 577–80.

Incidence of cancer of the larynx and lung near incinerators of waste solvents and oils in Great Britain; by P. Elliott, M. Hills, J. Beresford, I. Kleinschmidt, D. Jolley, S. Pattenden, L. Rodrigues, A. Westlake, G. Rose, published in the Lancet (1992), volume 339, pages 854–58.

Angiosarcoma of the liver in Great Britain in proximity to vinyl chloride sites; by P. Elliott and I. Kleinschmidt, published in "Occupational and Environmental Medicine" (1997), volume 54, pages 14–18.

Cancer incidence and mortality around the Pan Britannica Industries pesticide factory, Waltham Abbey; by P. Wilkinson, B. Thakrar, G. Shaddick, S. Stevenson, S. Pattenden, M. Landon, C. Grundy and P. Elliott, published in "Occupational and Environmental Medicine" (1997), volume 54, pages 101–107.

In its third report, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) recommended an investigation of the geographical distribution of childhood cancer and leukaemia in Great Britain and how the pattern of cases around nuclear installations compares with the national pattern. This study in nearing completion. The database will also allow investigation of other environmental factors and their potential relevance to the temporal and spatial distribution of childhood cancer.

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