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Lead Pollution

Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what evidence he has received on injury to health due to high concentration of lead in the air.

My Department has no substantive evidence of injury to health as a resultof exponsure to lead in the general environment.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what Government-sponsored research is currently being, or has been, conducted into the consequences to health of high concentrations of lead in the air.

My Department is currently sponsoring, or has sponsored in the last few years, the following studies relevant to the health consequences of lead in the air:

  • 1. Lead pollution around Gravelly Hill Bir mingham. Following the recently published report of the working party studying lead pollution around Gravelly Hill, a new steering committee has been formed, on which my Department is represented.
  • 2. Relationship between blood lead levels, general intelligence, reading ability and behaviour disorders in children under 17 years of age in an area of London exposed to undue amounts of lead from a smelter.
  • 3. Human uptake of lead from motor exhausts.
  • 4. Heavy metals tand polynuclear hydrocarbons in urban atmospheres.
  • 5. Direct read out of blood lead concentrations using a simple integration micro-sampling atomic absorption method.
  • In addition to these projects, one of the research units funded by my Department is collaborating in an EEC study of the effect of air pollution on the health of children.

    I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science that the Medical Research Council's Environmental Hazards Unit has also carried out studies on airborne lead and its relationship to lead levels in the blood.

    As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Environment announced on 12th July, his Department is to fund three pieces of research into the adverse effects of lead including possible behavioural effects on children.