Parliamentary move to scrap COMARE and SAHSU

Parliamentary move to scrap COMARE and SAHSU

Early Day Motion 1548

Like all Early Day Motions, EDM 1548 was deleted when the new Session of Parliament began on 23rd November 2004
Click here see full text and list of MPs who signed it
Click here to see Probe this cancer cluster in kids

Former Environment Minister Michael Meacher has sponsored an Early Day Motion entitled "Investigation into the Health Effects of Ionising Radiation".

EDM 1548 notes the recent discovery of extreme excess risks of childhood cancer on the contaminated coast of north Wales. It asks the Government to replace the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) with a Committee on the Health Effects of Ionising Radiation (CHEIR)

The Motion says CHEIR should have a neutral chair, a full-time civil service secretariat and a budget sufficient to permit independent research. Members should represent all shades of relevant scientific opinion and (in contrast to CERRIE) be paid for their work on the Committee.

The motion also calls for the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) to be disbanded.

COMARE was set up to advise Government, following the recommendation of the Black Report after the discovery of the notorious Seascale cluster near Sellafield in 1983. In addition Black identified a need for a body to monitor official health statistics to give early warning of problems around polluting installations. This was SAHSU.


Full text of EDM 1548 "INVESTIGATION INTO THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF IONISING RADIATION"
That this House notes a serious excess of childhood cancer and leukaemia recently discovered around the Menai Strait in North Wales, which appears associated with evidence near those parts of the coast of contamination with radioactivity; further notes that in 1983 the Independent Advisory Group chaired by the late Sir Douglas Black was established to investigate and advise on Yorkshire Television's discovery of an excess of leukaemia in children living on the Cumbrian coast near Sellafield, and that in 1984 the Black IAG recommended a centralised system for monitoring health data to give early warning; is concerned that the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) based at Imperial College in London has no power of independent investigation and did not find the excess leukaemia and cancer on the Menai Strait; is further concerned that the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE), set up on the recommendation of the Black IAG, did not find the excess leukaemia and cancer on the Menai Strait and has not identified a cause of the excess in Cumbria, and has strictly limited powers of independent investigation; and calls on the Government to disband SAHSU and to replace COMARE with a Committee on the Health Effects of Ionising Radiation with a neutral chair, a full-time civil service secretariat, a budget sufficient to permit independent research, and a membership, paid for their work on the Committee and which represents all shades of relevant scientific opinion."

Supported by 85 MPs. In order of signing:

Michael Meacher
Harry Barnes
Andrew George
Michael Clapham
Simon Thomas
Martin Caton
Chris McCafferty
David Drew
Mike Hancock
Kevin McNamara
Andrew Dismore
Vincent Cable
Michael Weir
Betty Williams
Paul Tyler
Tony Colman
Alan Simpson
Jim Cunningham
Adam Price
Helen Clark
Desmond Turner
Phil Sawford
Menzies Campbell
Janet Dean
Bill Etherington
Brian Jenkins
Huw Edwards
Norman Baker
Paul Flynn
Janet Anderson
Jeff Ennis
Llew Smith
Hywel Williams
Harry Cohen
Tony Lloyd
Patsy Calton
Ann Cryer
Harold Best
Brian Cotter
Edward Davey
Mike Wood
Andrew Stunell
Nigel Jones
John Wilkinson
Alan Meale
Simon Hughes
Norman Lamb
David Chaytor
John McDonnell
Peter L Pike
John Burnett
Roger Williams
Kelvin Hopkins
Adrian Sanders
Martyn Jones
Steve Webb
Alistair Carmichael
John Horam
David Taylor
Colin Challen
Dennis Skinner
Marsha Singh
Rudi Vis
Lembit Opik
Alice Mahon
Don Foster
Jenny Tonge
Michael Moore
Chris Ruane
Gerald Kaufman
Win Griffiths
David Amess
Elfyn Llwyd
Paul Keetch
Michael Connarty
Eddie McGrady
David Chidgey
Sylvia Hermon
Frank Cook
Fabian Hamilton
Ian Gibson
Annabelle Ewing
Austin Mitchell
Teddy Taylor
Paul Burstow

More background material in our March 2004 Activists' briefing on the new cluster in north Wales
click here .
Mr. Meacher's call for a new committee reflects his more general dissatisfaction with the way Government obtains scientific advice. See this article in The Times April 29, 2004, [click here]


Click here for March 2004 ACTIVISTS' briefing (as a web page)
Click here for March 2004 ACTIVISTS' briefing (as a PDF file)
Click here for our first briefing on implications
Click here for list of local health bodies who ought to be concerned

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