asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps Her Majesty's Government intend to take to reduce atmospheric lead pollution, in view of recent evidence of its detrimental effect upon the central nervous system of growing children.
I have been asked to reply.In the light of the Lawther report Her Majesty's Government have, as a precaution, put in hand measures to ensure a much wider margin of safety by reducing lead pollution from whatever source. These measures were announced by my right hon. Friend, the Minister for Local Government, on 11 May 1981. They include action on lead in old paintwork; lead in drinking water in areas where it is a problem; lead in food; and the largest ever cut in the permitted lead content of petrol by the earliest practicable date, which will reduce the atmospheric lead concentrations almost everywhere by more than half. In view of the inconclusiveness of the present evidence both the Department of the Environment and the Medical Research Council are also funding further work on any adverse health effect that low levels of lead might have on children.