Department of Health written question – answered on 14th January 2015.

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Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the potential link between water pollution and cancers of the colon and brain.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Water quality is well regulated; the Drinking Water Inspectorate is responsible for regulating public drinking water and the Environment Agency is responsible for regulating water in the environment. Public Health England provides health risk advice to both these organisations and other public bodies (e.g. local authorities) on water pollution or water contamination incidents. In 2008, the United Kingdom expert committee on carcinogenicity of chemicals in food, consumer products and the environment (COC) considered the potential cancer risk from chlorination disinfection by-products including colon and brain cancer. The COC concluded that the evidence for a causal association between cancer and exposure to chlorination disinfection by-products is limited and any such association is unlikely to be strong.

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