Silica: Health Hazards

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered am ar 23 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Alex Davies-Jones Alex Davies-Jones Shadow Minister (Domestic Violence and Safeguarding)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions she has had with the Health and Safety Executive on monitoring public exposure to silica dust.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)

Responsibility for exposure to silica dust is led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who are supported by a number of other governmental organisations, to minimise risks from exposure to silica.

The Environment Agency, or equivalent regulators in devolved administrations such as Natural Resources Wales, regulates activities that have the potential to harm the environment and people. The regulator decides if relevant environmental permits and other consents and licences should be issued and, if so, what conditions should be applied. Local authorities also enforce nuisance legislation which includes the control of dust emissions.

The UK Health Security Agency would expect any activities that generate dust, including silica, to be well managed and regulated and have clear plans in place for proper management and monitoring, in order to minimise any impact to the public.

The HSE’s advice states that no cases of silicosis have been documented among members of the general public in Great Britain, indicating that environmental exposures to silica dust are not sufficiently high to cause this occupational disease. Further information is available at the following link:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/quarries/silica.htm

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