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Drinking Water (Bedfordshire)

Volume 84: debated on Wednesday 30 October 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has received any evidence seeking to correlate the incidence of gastric cancer and of methaemoglobinaemia in babies in Bedfordshire with the levels of nitrates and nitrites in drinking water in the county: and if he will make a statement.

I have received no such evidence and am advised that infantile methaemoglobinaemia is a very rare condition in the United Kingdom. My Department is aware of reports of only some 14 cases attributable to nitrate in drinking water in the past 35 years. The last reported and confirmed case was in 1972.I understand that the epidemiological evidence gives no support to the suggestion that nitrate is a cause of cancer of the stomach, or of any other organ.