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Glass Fibres (Lung Effects)

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 15 July 1954

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2.

asked the Minister of Labour if the report promised to the hon. Member for Stoke, South, in May, 1953, on the effect of fibre glass on the lungs of workers, is ready; whether the promised air and dust samples have yet been taken, and the microscopic examination made; and with what results.

Investigations, including microscopic examination and dust counts at factories processing resin bonded glass fibres, have now been completed. They have not produced any evidence of dust concentrations injurious to the lungs of the workers concerned.

Does that answer mean that it is accepted scientifically that fibre glass is not an irritant to lung tissue when it is inhaled?

I should not like to say that. All I can say is that the investigations which I promised have taken place and that the experts have informed me that, after going into the matter at five factories, including the Fairey Aviation Co., which was the one particularly mentioned, nowhere has it been shown that the processing of this type of fibre has produced concentrations which were dangerous to health.

If it is a fact that other conditions like this, such as dust infection from silica, and so on, in many cases take 10, 12 or even 20 years to develop, how is it possible to say, after a short time, that there is no effect?

These investigations have taken place over a long time. I was asked to undertake them, that is the result, and that is all I can say.