Cadmium chemical was sprayed over Norwich in the
The effects of cadmium spraying over a city in the 1960s
are to be investigated after claims that it was linked with
cancer of the oesophagus.
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb was told of the decision by the
Department of Health after he tabled questions to Health
Secretary Patricia Hewitt.
"There are many concerns about the possible effect of cadmium
spraying in Norwich and the cancer," Mr Lamb said.
Cadmium powder was sprayed over part of the city during
The investigation will involve the Health Protection Agency (HPA),
the local Primary Care Trust, the Cancer Registry and the local
Public Health Observatory.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health
Caroline Flint informed Mr Lamb of the investigation, adding: "I
am advised that it is unlikely the zinc cadmium sulphide
dispersion trials have resulted in any long term health
Campaigners claim that Norwich has a higher number of cases
of cancer of the oesophagus than the national average.
Peter Brambleby, director of public health at the Norwich
Primary Care Trust denies this and is on record as saying that
he could find "no link between the spraying and this cancer".
He said: "My examination of the most up-to-date data for
Norwich shows a low incidence and lower than expected incidence
of oesophageal cancer."
But earlier this year Mr Wyn Parry, a consultant at the
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and a specialist in
oesophageal cancer, said more research was needed on this type
"I see patients across Norfolk and we would expect to see
between 120 and 130 cases (national average) but we are seeing
between 170 and 180. Perhaps 50% more than the national
A small quantity of cadmium was sprayed over parts of the
city as part of a Ministry of Defence experiment on chemical
The Ministry of Defence said the experiment, which its
scientists say was safe, was to "simulate the airborne
dissemination" of biological warfare agents in the air.