HC Deb 12 July 1978 vol 953 cc654-5W
Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what routine steps his Department takes to monitor the level of lead in the atmosphere in urban areas; and how the lead levels so obtained compare to the Government's recommended safe level of atmospheric lead.

Mr. Denis Howell

Warren Springs Laboratory, on behalf of my Department, has measured lead levels at 20 urban sites over the past two years to show the general level in urban areas and it has monitored the concentration of lead at the road side in five cities over several years. The results of both these studies will be published shortly. In addition special studies have been carried out around particular sources of lead. Monitoring is also conducted by local authorities.

As my right hon. Friend explained in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George)—[Vol. 951, c. 183–4.]—there is no single limit for the acceptable level of lead in the environment. Work is now being planned to measure the blood levels of sample populations in major cities and also of critical groups who may be exposed to above average lead concentrations.

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