Oral Answers to Questions — Nuclear Tests (Deformed Babies)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13 December 1973.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian 12:00, 13 December 1973

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the inquiries he promised to undertake into the forecasts by Edinburgh geneticists of the number of babies likely to be born blind or deformed as a result of nuclear tests.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

The forecasts made 10 years ago by a geneticist working in Edinburgh, on the evidence then available, are now regarded as having over-estimated the risk of genetic damage from fall-out radiation. A recent report by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation tentatively estimates that among the children of those exposed to fall-out, up to two in every million live births may suffer some degree of genetic abnormality, ranging from the slight to the serious.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

At a time when the good will and co-operation of the countries of the Pacific are more vital than ever, will the Prime Minister press on the French the result of his inquiries, showing that any level of radiation is at any rate a little dangerous, and ask them, as a matter of good will, to cancel the tests which they propose to carry out next year?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

As I have repeatedly told the hon. Gentleman, the French Government are well aware of our views. But the United Nations committee has been commissioned to review the levels of atomic radiation in the light of the most recent documents available, of which the hon. Gentleman is fully aware, and we ourselves have a considerable amount of information from the Pacific, which is being analysed.