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Ozone Depletion

Volume 201: debated on Friday 20 December 1991

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff are working in his Department full-time on the human health effect of ozone depletion in the United Kingdom.

No staff are employed full-time on this specific area. A number of officials are engaged on work relating to health aspects of radiation in the environment, including ultraviolet and other non-ionising radiations. The National Radiological Protection Board also employs scientific staff on work in these areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list any studies his Department has undertaken or commissioned on the human health impacts of ozone depletion over the United Kingdom; and if it has any plans to do any further studies.

The predominant health effects which might arise as a result of the depletion in the ozone layer would be as a consequence of an increased exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation. The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) has three stations in the United Kingdom which constantly monitor levels of ultraviolet light from the sun. The data obtained from these monitoring stations is published annually.The NRPB and other research groups in the United Kingdom and abroad have undertaken a number of studies into the health effects of ultraviolet radiation and further research is either under way or planned.In addition, the NRPB has established an advisory group which will, among other things, review these studies and will advise on the need for further research when its review is complete. The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) is also being kept informed of development in this area.