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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 10:20 GMT
Water poisoning report 'flawed'
Lowermoor treatment works, Camelford
A toxic chemical was tipped into the wrong tank at the Lowermoor works
A report into Britain's worst water poisoning disaster has been called into question by two members of the investigating committee.

Twenty tonnes of aluminium sulphate was delivered into the wrong tank at a water treatment works at Lowermoor on the edge of Bodmin Moor in 1988.

People complained of a range of health issues ranging from brain damage and memory loss to joint problems.

Local representatives said recent deaths called the report into question.

Women deaths

The report by the Committee on Toxicity Lowermoor Sub-Group into medical effects of the incident will be reviewed by the overarching Committee on Toxicity on Tuesday.

But local representatives on the committee, Truro based homeopath Peter Smith and environmental scientist Doug Cross, challenged what they said was the Department of Health's attempt to "draw a line" under the investigation.

They said: "Recent deaths of people exposed to the aluminium-contaminated water have called into question some of the conclusions of the committee."

Mr Smith has sent an open letter to the prime minister, a number of MPs and members of the committee.

'Probable' poisoning

Mr Cross's 58-year old wife Carole, who lived in Camelford at the time of the pollution, died in 2004 and an autopsy revealed abnormally high levels of aluminium in her brain. She suffered from a neurological disease.

Irene Neal, 91, whose home was served by the Camelford water system, died in a nursing home in Buckfastleigh, south Devon, in June.

A brain autopsy carried out revealed an "unacceptable amount of aluminium in the brain", said her daughter, Pam Melville

Mr Cross said he believed both cases were linked, though full inquests into the deaths of both women have yet to be held.

In 1999, an article in the British Medical Journal said it was "highly probable" that aluminium poisoning did cause brain damage in some people.

After a trial at Exeter Crown Court in 1991, the South West Water Authority was fined 10,000 with 25,000 costs for supplying water likely to endanger public health.

Three years later, 148 victims of the incident reached an out of court settlement, with payments ranging from 680 to 10,000.

Brain tests show aluminium traces
29 Nov 07 |  Cornwall
Poisoned water inquiry concludes
14 May 07 |  Cornwall
Call to test poisoned water users
20 Apr 06 |  Cornwall
Water poisoning evidence is heard
20 Dec 05 |  Cornwall
Questions over toxic water tests
15 Dec 05 |  Cornwall
Disease link to water poisoning
15 Dec 05 |  Cornwall

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