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MP criticises Camelford water poisoning report

By CG_News  |  Posted: April 18, 2013

  • Carole Cross, who died in 2004

  • The Lowemoor water plant

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NORTH CORNWALL MP Dan Rogerson and Lord Paul Tyler have described today’s report into the 1988 Lowermoor water poisoning incident in Camelford as a “bitter disappointment”.

The disaster happened when 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate was dumped into the wrong tank at the Lowermoor water treatment works, near Camelford.

It turned the water supply to 20,000 people in North Cornwall highly acidic, with tap water containing massive levels of aluminium.

But today’s 677-page report by the Lowermoor Subgroup concluded that exposure to aluminium caused no delayed or persistent harm to Camelford resident.

This is despite an inquest last year into the death of Carole Cross, which said that there was a “very real possibility” that her death in 2004 was due to the ingestion of aluminium.

She died aged 59 from a unique neurological disease distantly related to Alzheimer’s.

Lord Tyler, North Cornwall's MP from 1992-2005, said: "After nearly 25 years, this is a bitter disappointment. Many local people will justifiably find it difficult to see how this group can conclude that exposure to the aluminium has caused no delayed or persistent harm, when the Coroner's conclusions in the recent case of Mrs Cross were so different.

"Meanwhile, the sub-group has failed to live up to the hopes of those of us who campaigned to set it up.

“Residents in the Lowermoor area will neither forget who was responsible at the time, nor thank the sub-group for glossing over this part of the story in their report today."

Mr Rogerson said: "I remain concerned that not enough medical evidence has been taken from those who were directly affected at the time and that much of the findings are based upon theoretical evidence rather than empirical research.

"In addition, the report has not considered the behaviour of those in authority at the time and will not therefore allay the concerns of those who feel that the priority was to prevent bad publicity rather than to protect the public."

The report said

- “Although the period of exposure to increased levels of aluminium was short, in view of the neurodevelopmental effects seen with aluminium in animal studies, we consider that the possibility of delayed or persistent harm to health should be explored also in those who were in utero at the time of the incident.”

- “The available data do not provide any evidence which indicates that the combination of metals which occurred as a result of the pollution incident would have caused, or would be expected to cause, delayed or persistent additive or synergistic effects.”

- “We recommend that further studies are conducted to determine whether consumption of the contaminated water is associated with an increased risk of abnormal neuropsychological status or any abnormal pattern of neuropathology.”

Click here to read the full report

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2 comments

  • kernow19  |  April 20 2013, 7:05AM

    About time this was put to bed once and for all now. Every year, without fail, it continues to crop up just before the start of the holiday season giving out negative publicity to potential visitors to the area.

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  • BobToronto  |  April 19 2013, 7:42PM

    Two politicians expressing a negative opinion of a 677 page report on the day it was released! Incredible speed reading or did they just read the executive summary. Is there is an executive summary? I have not started page one! Perhaps the politicians received an advance copy. If so, is this right? Or are they giving a negative opinion knowing that few will read the full text. Politicians should be concerned about the costs of a 677 page report of an event 25 years ago. How many thousands of pounds did the report cost? Bob

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