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Occupationally-Related Cancers

Volume 983: debated on Friday 25 April 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration his Department has given to the findings of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Departmental of Labor as published in the Federal Register of 22 January, that up to 20 to 40 per cent. of cancers in the United States of America in the coming decades will be occupationally related in connection with the situation in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement in respect of the British position.

The findings referred to in the United States of America Federal Register of 22 January 1980 were taken from a study carried out in the United States of America in 1978 by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The methodology of this study has been severely criticised by scientists in the United States and in the United Kingdom. In the view of the Health and Safety Executive no reliable estimate of the percentage of deaths from cancer that are due to occupational factors can be determined. There is no pathological distinction between non-occupational and occupational cancers, and in many instances a combination of contributory factors exists.