Clause 1. — (Regulations as to use of lead paint.)

Orders of the Day — Lead Paint (Protection Against Poisoning) Bill. – in the House of Commons on 3rd August 1926.

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Photo of Dr Thomas Watts Dr Thomas Watts , Manchester, Withington

I beg to move, in page 1, line 17, after the word "the," to insert the word "monthly."

I have great sympathy with hon. Members opposite in their advocacy of the prohibition of lead paint, but, unfortunately, we have no efficient and safe substitute for it, and so we must fall back on our second line of defence, namely, regulation. I have had 25 years' experience with regard to lead poisoning, and I attach the greatest importance to the method of preventing lead poisoning by medical examination. Hon. Members have spoken as though lead poisoning were an acute disease and might arise from one exposure to infection. I would remind them that it is a chronic disease, which often takes months, and even years, to develop.

Fortunately, it has certain well-marked premonitory symptoms by which it can be easily recognised by medical examination, such as the progressive anæmia and the destruction of the red corpuscles of the blood, which can be easily recognised by the analyst and by the medical examiner, and there is the power under these Regulations to suspend from employment a workman whose health is or appears likely to he injuriously affected, such as has been found previously, in the case of carbon bisulphide poisoning and mercurial poisoning, to be quite sufficient. In order, however, that this examination may be absolutely efficient, it is necessary that it should be carried out at certain stated intervals, and that is the reason why I suggest the insertion of the word " monthly." I do not wish to labour the point, but I believe that, although the Minister may have ample powers under the present Regulations, his hands would be strengthened by having a definite statement in this Bill that the examination must be conducted monthly, or, if that cannot be accepted, I would say periodically.

Dr. DAVIES:

I beg to second the Amendment.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hacking Sir Douglas Hacking , Chorley

I am sorry that cannot accept this Amendment, but I am prepared to meet my hon. Friend. In his concluding words he indicated that he would be satisfied if the word "periodical " were inserted, and I should be prepared to accept that word. I cannot accept the Amendment to insert the word " monthly," because it might be necessary to have inspections oftener or not so frequently. but, if my hon. Friend will agree to the word "periodical," perhaps he will withdraw his present Amendment" and I will then move to insert the word "periodical."

Photo of Dr Thomas Watts Dr Thomas Watts , Manchester, Withington

In view of what my hon. and gallant Friend has said, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: In page 1, line 17, after the word "the," insert the word "periodical."—[Captain Hacking.]

Photo of Dr Thomas Watts Dr Thomas Watts , Manchester, Withington

I beg to move, in page 1, line 17, after the word "examination," to insert the words "by a certifying factory surgeon."

This Amendment, again, is intended to strengthen the Regulations. Under the Bill, this examination can be made by any medical man. My object is to restrict the Department to an examination made by a certifying factory surgeon, that is to say, a surgeon who has had considerable experience in examining and treating cases of lead poisoning. I merely want to strengthen the Regulations, and so prevent lead poisoning.

Photo of Sir Douglas Hacking Sir Douglas Hacking , Chorley

I am sure my hon. Friend will not expect me to meet him on every occasion. I am sorry that I cannot accept this Amendment, for the reason that, although almost always the Home Office, under their regulations, do have the examinations carried out by certifying factory surgeons, it may be necessary in certain cases that a specially appointed doctor should be substituted for the certifying factory surgeon. That is the reason I cannot accept the Amendment. If it is any consolation to the hon. Member I will say that the great qualifications of the certifying factory surgeon will not be overlooked.

Amendment negatived.