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

Part of 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.