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Lord Lucas: This study will examine neuropsychological effects including a number of standard tests to allow a quantitative estimate of psychiatric morbidity, anxiety and depression. This may give an indication of whether there is any relationship between exposure to organophosphates and a propensity to suicide.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): There are monographs for carbaryl (the bulk drug substance) and carbaryl lotion (the preparation used in the treatment of head lice) in the British Pharmacopoeia 1993. These are found on pages 1511 and 1637 of the British Pharmacopoeia 1993, Addendum 1995. A monograph for malathion has been authorised for inclusion in the European Pharmacopoeia and when this is nearing completion monographs for the preparations used in the treatment of head lice will be prepared for inclusion in the British Pharmacopoeia.
The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has advised that all data sheets supplied to the ABPI by its member companies are included in the compendium. However, inclusion is voluntary, so in any individual case it is the decision of the company holding the marketing authorisation whether or not to submit a data sheet for inclusion.
Baroness Cumberlege: Health surveillance, which includes developmental checks, is provided by general practitioners and community health service staff for all children up to age five and by the school health service
Baroness Cumberlege: The Health and Safety Executive Guidance Notes refer to the biological monitoring of workers exposed to organophosphorus pesticides. The organophosphate based human medicines for the treatment of head lice infestations are different formulations, used only intermittently at low doses and with limited exposure. The guidance notes are therefore not applicable to human medicines use. Unlike workers exposed to organophosphates, there are no data on serious adverse reactions to human medicines containing malathion.
Baroness Cumberlege: Resistance of human head lice to the available human medicines containing carbaryl, malathion, permethrin and phenothrin varies over time and location, so it is not possible to quantify it. Measures are being taken by local initiatives to rotate treatments over time to avoid development of resistance to the medicines available.
Baroness Cumberlege: A number of published papers are available which cover the in-vitro and in-vivo effects in humans of exposure to the listed chemicals and to pesticides generally. These include information about effects on the human foetus.
Baroness Cumberlege: The potential exposure of children and adults to organophosphates (or any other active ingredient) in flea collars, fly sprays and plant insecticides is considered as part of the licensing or approvals systems. No product would be licensed or approved if, in the view of the expert committees advising the Government, it presented an unacceptable risk to human health. I am unaware of research into the usage of pesticides in family homes.
Baroness Cumberlege: Yes. The Government are aware of research in Germany on sensitivity to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides and officials of the Department of Health have written to the appropriate officials in Germany to obtain more information.
The whole area of multiple chemical sensitivity continues to be a subject of considerable controversy. The Government will be guided by the consensus of medical opinion on this issue but meanwhile accept that diagnoses will be made on the basis of present understanding of illness caused by organic chemicals.
Baroness Cumberlege: It is for local health authorities to determine where their cancer units should be situated, based on the needs of their populations. Any estimation of cost will be undertaken locally.
Baroness Cumberlege: Total Government spending on the National Health Service, including the money available for hospital and community health services, will again increase in real terms next year. It will be for health authorities locally to determine to what priorities this new money will be directed.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The timing of the re-opening of the East London line will depend on the outcome of London Underground's re-application to the London Docklands Development Corporation for listed building consent to strengthen and waterproof the tunnel which carries the line under the Thames.
The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): The Department of the Environment is currently formulating its research programme for 1996-97 and subsequent years. No final decision has yet been taken on the composition of this programme.
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