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Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what monitoring and reviewing of the evidence of the symptoms of radio frequency radiation the Health Protection Agency has undertaken in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron [holding answer 9 July 2009]: The HPA carries out research on radiofrequency radiation, monitors other studies, and conducts comprehensive reviews of the scientific evidence. The independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) also prepares reviews for the HPA of the evidence for health effects. AGNIR published a review of health effects in relation to radio waves in 2003 (see documents of the NRPB, volume 14, number 2: "Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields: Report of an independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation"), and the HPA in 2004 (see documents of the NRPB, volume 15, number 3: "Review of the Scientific Evidence for Limiting Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (0-300 GHz)"). These publications are both available on the HPA website. AGNIR is commencing another review of the health effects of radio wave exposures, which is expected to take two to three years to complete.
A copy of the report "Report 2007" from the independently managed Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR), funded by Government and industry, has been placed in the Library. None of the studies completed demonstrated that biological or adverse health effects are produced by radiofrequency exposure from mobile phones or base stations. Further research is being carried out to address longer-term exposures and to assess whether hypersensitivity symptoms can be caused by exposure to terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) signals. Further information on these studies is available on the MTHR website at:
The HPA has concluded that there is no consistent evidence to date that exposure to radio waves from wireless networks adversely affects the health of the general population. Radiofrequency exposures are likely to be lower than those from mobile phones and well within the internationally accepted guidelines from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. The HPA keeps the situation under ongoing review. The HPA is carrying out a systematic programme of research into wireless local area networks and their use, expected to be complete in 2010. Details can be seen on the HPA website at:
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what date, and in what location, the documents relating to the infection of haemophiliacs through contaminated blood products released by his Department on 20 May 2009 were discovered; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron [holding answer 13 July 2009]: The 468 documents released on 20 May 2009 were found in around 40 folders which contained documents from the late 1980s and 1990. These folders were stored at Wellington house, a Department of Health building. While preparing an inventory of these folders in July 2008, departmental officials became aware that they also contained documents relevant to the period before 1985 and a full assessment of the content of all the folders was therefore undertaken.
Many of the documents from the relevant period were found to be copies of those already released. There were 469 previously unreleased documents identified, none of which was judged to add materially to the knowledge of events in the years before 1985. One document from this batch was withheld as it contained personal information about a patient. The remaining 468 were released as soon as was practicable.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the documents relating to the infection of haemophiliacs through contaminated blood products have been requested for release and not released by his Department; on what grounds the documents have not been released; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron [holding answer 13 July 2009]: Since 1 January 2005, 30 requests have been received under the Freedom of Information Act to release documents relating to the infection of haemophilia patients through contaminated blood products. Eight of these requests were rejected under section 12 of the Act as the cost involved would exceed the statutory cost limit, which is £600 for central Government.
One instance withheld as exempt from disclosure under section 28;
Two instances withheld as exempt from disclosure under section 34;
Seven instances withheld as exempt from disclosure under section 35;
Two instances withheld as exempt from disclosure under section 36;
Three instances withheld as exempt from disclosure under section 40; and
10 instances withheld as exempt from disclosure under section 43.
In addition, more than 5,500 documents (including those released on 20 May 2009) covering the relevant time period have been voluntarily released by the Department in line with the Freedom of Information Act. Of these documents, seven, two of which are duplicates, have been withheld under a Freedom of Information exemption because they contain personal information.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which groups of people other than individuals with bleeding disorders his Department has identified who were exposed to potentially contaminated blood and blood products as a result of medical treatment between the 1970s and 1990s; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The groups, in addition to patients with bleeding disorders, who may have been exposed to potentially contaminated blood and blood products received treatment for a range of conditions. These patients include those with primary immunodeficiency who received immunoglobulins, as well as some who required treatment with several infusions of intravenous immunoglobulin G or of plasma, for conditions such as immune thrombocytopaenic purpura or rapid anticoagulation reversal respectively.
Some patients who received transfusions of blood components (red cells, platelets, fresh frozen plasma and cryoprecipitate) before effective tests to screen donated blood for HIV and hepatitis C became available (1985 and 1991 respectively), may also have been exposed.
Recipients of transfusions of blood components may have been exposed to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) during the 1980s and 1990s. To date, four cases of vCJD infection associated with transfusion have been identified, three of which resulted in clinical symptoms in the transfusion recipient. All recipients of blood from the donors to these cases were traced and those living notified of their risk status. Some recipients of plasma products manufactured from United Kingdom sourced pooled plasma between 1980 and 2001 were identified as being potentially 'at risk' for vCJD as a result of their treatment in line with risk assessment advice from the CJD Incidents Panel in 2004.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether the Department's look-back exercise to identify patients who may have been infected with HIV or hepatitis C through blood and blood products will include patients who were at risk of infection but who do not have bleeding disorders; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) when the Department plans to (a) start and (b) finish its look back exercise to identify patients who may have been infected with HIV or hepatitis C as a result of infected blood and blood products, but who are unaware of the fact; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The precise terms and duration of the look-back exercise are due to be finalised imminently with the United Kingdom Haemophilia Centres Doctors' Organisation (UKHCDO). It is likely that the look-back exercise will concentrate on patients with bleeding disorders who may have been infected, as indicated in the Government response to Lord Archer's independent report into national health service supplied contaminated blood and blood products, but the UKHCDO will also take the opportunity to consider the need to include any other patient groups who may have been infected.
There was a look-back exercise in 1995 to identify and offer hepatitis C testing to recipients of blood transfusions from known hepatitis C infected blood
donors. The Department's ongoing hepatitis C awareness campaign, which has been running since 2005, highlights the risks of hepatitis C infection, including specifically from blood transfusions or blood products in the UK before it was possible to introduce safety measures, and encourages patients who may be at risk to discuss the need for testing with their doctor.
Patients infected with HIV through contaminated blood transfusions or blood products in the UK are likely to have already been identified because of the clinical nature of the disease, as it is now over 20 years since HIV testing was introduced by the blood services.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many partners of haemophiliacs infected with (a) HIV and (b) hepatitis C through contaminated blood products have been infected with (i) HIV and (ii) hepatitis C as a result; and if he will make a statement. 
The Skipton Fund, which administers the ex-gratia scheme to haemophilia patients and others infected with hepatitis C, does not keep a separate record of the number of people who were infected by their partners.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many haemophiliacs had tested positive for hepatitis C antibodies in their blood by August 1990 as a result of the application of the Elisa test; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) on what date the (a) first and (b) last haemophiliac was informed of the results of the test for the prevalence of hepatitis C antibodies in their blood from the Elisa test; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to expedite the adoption of pathogen inactivation measures in order to improve blood safety; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: Pathogen inactivation is one of the options the independent Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs will consider for further reducing the infection risk from platelets (a blood component) at its next meeting in July 2009. There are no pathogen inactivation systems currently available for red cells, the most widely transfused blood component.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department (a) has commissioned and (b) has evaluated on male breast cancer in each of the last 10 years; what research on the subject it plans to commission; and if he will make a statement. 
Over the last 10 years, the main part of the Department's total expenditure on health research has been devolved to and managed by national health service organisations. Details of individual NHS supported research projects undertaken during that time, including some concerned with male breast cancer, are available on the archived national research register at:
The Medical Research Council is one of the main agencies through which the Government support biomedical research. The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The MRC supports a broad portfolio of research on breast cancer. While this research is mainly related to female breast cancer, much of it will also be relevant to male breast cancer, as symptoms, diagnosis and treatment are similar in men and women.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what response his Department made to (a) the interim report of the Government's stakeholder advisory group on extremely low frequency electronic and magnetic fields (SAGE) of April 2007 and (b) the Health Protection Agency's response of October 2007 to the SAGE interim report. 
Gillian Merron: A Government response to the "First Interim Assessment" published by the Stakeholder Advisory Group on Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields (SAGE) is currently being finalised.
The Health Protection Agency's advice to Government on the SAGE "First Interim Assessment on power lines and property, wiring in homes and electrical equipment in homes" was issued in October 2007. Both the HPA's advice and the reply from the Minister of State are on the Department's website at:
Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect on people with epilepsy of generic substitution of anti-epileptic drugs. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the written answer I gave my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (John Battle) and the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose) on 13 July 2009, Official Report, columns 165-66W.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance the Food Standards Agency has issued to local authorities on their budgetary provision for chemical analysis of food; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: Local authority food sampling responsibilities are set out in the statutory food law code of practice (separate parallel codes of practice exist for each of the four United Kingdom countries). Local authorities are required to put together a sampling programme that details their intended food sampling priorities, taking into account the number, type and risk rating of premises in their area and any national or local consumer issues that may influence sampling rates. Also important are any responsibilities under the originating or home authority principle.
The Food Standards Agency board annually examine monitoring reports of local authorities activities including sampling annually, looking at both national trends and the position of individual authorities. Where an individual local authority reports figures which are not considered to be acceptable, further enquiries are made of that authority, and the agency will, if appropriate, use its powers formally to audit that authority's services.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the contribution of the Minister of State for Health of 5 May 2009, Official Report, column 54WH, in the Westminster Hall debate on health food products (Channel Islands), what further information he has received on (a) a timetable for the implementation of the food supplements directive and nutrition and health claims regulation in Jersey and (b) the plans of the authorities in Guernsey to implement the legislation; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) whether the Food Standards Agency has been asked by the Government of Jersey to provide an opinion on whether the definition of food business operator includes fulfilment businesses; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The FSA is awaiting responses from the Government of Jersey regarding their timetable for implementing the food supplements directive and the nutrition and health claims regulation and from the Government of Guernsey about their plans for the implementation of this legislation.
In September 2008, an official of the Government of Jersey sought the view of the FSA as to the status of businesses trading in foodstuffs which never physically fall into their possession. In its response, the FSA advised that as the definition of 'food business' in Regulation (EC) 178/2002 (General Food Law) refers to
"activities related to any stage of production, processing and distribution of food"
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