Children May Have Been Harmed by Water Pollution in UK

April 4, 2002

The UK's worst water pollution incident may be linked to a higher than average number of Cornish children having special educational needs, a Member of Parliament (MP) has said.

The comments come from Liberal Democrat MP Paul Tyler, who led the campaign for an inquiry into the pollution of water supplies to 20,000 people in north Cornwall in July 1988.

Members of a government committee are interviewing people who claim their health suffered when 20 tons of aluminium sulphate was dumped into the wrong tank at the South West Water Authority (SWWA) treatment works, Lowermoor, near Camelford.

The committee heard that a higher than average number of children who were very young – or unborn – in July, 1988, and who were now at secondary school, had special educational needs.

"We need to know whether these children have indeed suffered from this dreadful accident, and the failure to inform households quickly enough to prevent damage to health," Tyler said.

He has arranged for data relating to young victims, which appeared to show a connection between aluminium sulphate solution and severe learning problems, to be examined by the committee members.

The eight-strong Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment, has been asked to advise whether the incident had resulted in delayed or persistent health effects and whether there was any need for additional monitoring and research.

Source: BBC News

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