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Camelford Water Poisoning Report Calls For More Research

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5:35am 19th April 2013
(Updated 5:35am 19th April 2013)

There are calls for more research into how the Camelford water poisoning hit locals' health.

But a panel of experts says it is unlikely to have done long term damage.

20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate was accidentally dumped in the wrong tank at the old South West Water Authority works at Lowermoor in 1988.

Years later local Carole Cross died of an unusual dementia.

An inquest found there were high levels of aluminium in her brain.

As well as more research because of that, the panel wants more checks on those who were babies at the time or born just after.

The Lowermoor Subgroup also recommend that more work on the incidence of diseased joints in the affected area, toxicological studies on aluminium and said that there could be further analyses on cancer incidence and mortality rates.

The Subgroup was chaired by Professor Frank Woods and included experts in toxicology, epidemiology and child health.

In addition to reviewing scientific research, the Subgroup heard evidence throughout its period of work from people who considered their health to be affected by the incident, as well as local GPs and other relevant professionals.

Professor Woods said: "Our research indicates that it is unlikely that the relatively short term exposure to chemicals from this incident would have caused long term health effects among local people. However, work on potential long term neurological effects is needed because of problems with the design of previous studies and to follow up an unusual case of
dementia in an individual who lived in the Lowermoor water supply area at the time of the incident.

"Further work is also needed to track the health of the most vulnerable groups exposed to the chemicals. These are children born to women who were pregnant at the time of the incident, and youngsters aged under one at the time."

But campaigners say the report is not good enough and are calling for a full public inquiry.

Peter Smith from the Lowermoor Support Group quit the panel before the report was published. He told Pirate FM: "How many others are out there? Some people don't realise they were living in the area, which was all the way from Crackington Haven, pretty well, all the way down to Rock and seven miles inland.

"It is demeaning, it is angering, it is frustrating because it is the same old song. They will not look at things. They will stick their fingers in their ears. They've dismissed us, they've called us 'hysterical' and all sorts of things."

5:35am 19th April 2013

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