Boiler-Cleaning (Dust Masks).

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy. – in the House of Commons on 1st July 1942.

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Photo of Mr William Gritten Mr William Gritten , Hartlepools, The

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the danger of consumption, silicosis, and other bronchial diseases caused to naval ratings by inhaling fine particles of oil-fuel soot or of rust when cleaning out boilers, he will at once provide them with masks when so employed?

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I am advised that masks are not necessary for this purpose, as the amount of dust particles inhaled by a rating during the infrequent operation of boiler cleaning does not have any pathological effect.

Photo of Mr William Gritten Mr William Gritten , Hartlepools, The

Is my right hon. Friend aware that ratings so employed are subject to continuous coughs, and that some are already tubercular?

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

The evidence which we have from our medical staff is that they have no experience of silicosis among such ratings, and in the case of tuberculosis the incidence is not higher than among other ratings.

Photo of Mr William Gritten Mr William Gritten , Hartlepools, The

Why cannot they be provided with masks, as is done in the case of workers in similar civilian occupations?

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I am sure the medical staff would recommend it if necessary. I shall continue to watch the matter.