Campaigners criticise report into Camelford water poisoning

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 23 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3376
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

The final report into the Camelford water poisoning incident 25 years ago, which has found that the pollution was “unlikely” to have caused long term health problems, has been dismissed as wholly inadequate by local MPs, doctors, and campaigners.

On 6 July 1988 a relief tanker driver discharged 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate solution into the wrong tank at the Lowermoor water treatment works, subsequently contaminating water supplies to a large area of north Cornwall, including the town of Camelford. The independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment set up the Lowermoor subgroup in 2001 to review the potential health consequences from the incident, and its final report was published last month.1

The committee, which advises the Department of Health and other government departments, concluded that it was unlikely that the short period of increased exposure to the chemical had caused delayed or persistent harm to the health of local people. However, the report said that the data available from which the conclusions were drawn were often sparse and …

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