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Benomyl And Carbendazim

Volume 226: debated on Wednesday 16 June 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what data exist within the Department as to the effects of Benomyl and Carbendazim—related products on women immediately prior to childbirth;(2) what links have been established between the use of Benomyl and Carbendazim in fungicides and the incidence of anophthalmic and microphthalmic conditions in humans;(3) what proposals the Government have for scientific inquiries into the use and effects of Benomyl and related products; and what inquiries have taken place so far.

Data on the metabolic effects on animals of pesticides are produced from experiments using laboratory animals and evaluated by the independent and Government scientists who advise Ministers before any pesticide is approved for use. I refer the hon. Member to the reply the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State—my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Sackville) —gave the hon. Member for Rochdale (Ms Lynne) on 8 February at columns 478–79, for an explanation of the approval process and the assessment of the data seen.The data available to the Department do not indicate that Benomyl and Carbendazim-related products used as fungicides in the United Kingdom are likely to cause any adverse health effects to women or to their unborn children immediately before childbirth or throughout their pregnancies. Nor has the Department seen or been notified of any scientific reports that indicate that these products are causing adverse health effects on women or on children.I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) on 20 May at column

259, which stated that the Department is commissioning research into the incidence of anophthalmia in Great Britain from the environmental epidemiological unit at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The results of this work and the research now being undertaken by Moorfields hospital will be very carefully considered and any necessary action taken.