Health Department slammed over sea bathing risks

The Department of Health (DoH) has emerged with its scientific credibility badly dented from an inquiry by the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities into a proposal to amend the 1976 EC Directive on bathing water quality. The Committee's report concludes that the DoH unjustifiably rejected recent scientific evidence that bathing in water meeting both the existing and the proposed tighter standards will give rise to significant risks to public health. But the

Committee is waiting for the Government to complete a study of the extra spending on sewage treatment which may be required by the EC proposal before judging whether the investment would be worthwhile in public health terms.1The Lords inquiry was particularly interesting because it looked into the European Commission's first proposal to amend one of the existing Directives which the UK has placed on its subsidiarity "hit-list".

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