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Volume 205: debated on Monday 16 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to amend the law relating to lead levels in the light of recent research; and if he will make a statement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give, by specialty and by region, the decrease in the numbers of people waiting over two years during his recent initiative to reduce long waits.

[holding answer 21 February 1992]: The latest information available centrally by region and specialty is given in the table. Provisional figures for January show that since last March the number of patients waiting over two years in all specialties has fallen by a further 30,730—60 per cent. in January alone, over-two-year waiters fell by 30 per cent.—the largest monthly fall ever.

The Department keeps under review the results of research into the effects of lead on health and advises as necessary those Departments that are responsible for legislation to control exposure to lead.I understand that there are no proposals currently to amend any regulations or guidelines relating to lead levels.Measures already taken have reduced lead exposure through petrol, water, air, food, industrial emissions, paint, cosmetics, ceramic glazes and toys, and monitoring programmes have shown a continuing fall in blood lead levels in children and adults.The Government's policy remains to contain and reduce exposure to lead wherever practicable.