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Pottery Industry (Tuberculosis And Pneumoconiosis)

Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 10 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the special danger of tubercular infection to workers in some sections of the pottery industry; and what action he is taking to reduce the number of cases of pulmonary massive fibrosis.

I am aware that there is a close relationship between certain forms of pneumoconiosis and tuberculous infection. As my hon. Friend told the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) on 6th March, a Committee comprising both sides of the industry and the factory inspectorate has been charged with following up the Survey on the Pottery Industry. In an interim report, the Committee made recommendations about dust control appliances which have been circulated to every pottery firm in the country. The Committee is continuing its work and I am sure that this is the most effective way of making progress.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is something further which he himself could do at once, by seeing that no entrant comes into the industry suffering from tubercular infection? Will he, by regulation or some other means, see that entrants are X-rayed by the mass X-ray centre, because that would certainly preclude a great deal of suffering and some deaths?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary said that I was considering the point he raised in an earlier Question on this matter. I am considering this and will be writing to the hon. Gentleman.