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Wed06July 1988 - Camelford Water Disaster (privatisation)

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:45 pm    Post subject: Wed06July 1988 - Camelford Water Disaster (privatisation) Reply with quote

Camelford water disaster

Find out all about their crooked solicitors
Lots of pretty girly lawyers to persuade the public they are nice people
Leigh Day & Co
here - 30 minutes in - they are the crooked solicitors for the Camelford water disaster that Mark - now passed away - is referring to - see below

What causes BSE, CJD & MS? Organic Farmer Mark Purdey on Organophosphates (2001)

Link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MheeiX2w8JU

From Wikipedia
The Camelford water pollution incident involved the accidental contamination of the drinking water supply to the town of Camelford, Cornwall, England with 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate in July 1988.
As the aluminium sulphate broke down it produced several tonnes of sulphuric acid which "stripped a cocktail of chemicals from the pipe networks as well as lead and copper piping in peopleís homes."
Many people who came into contact with the contaminated water experienced a range of short-term health effects.
There has been no rigorous examination or monitoring of the health of the victims since the incident, and the long-term implications for those who were poisoned remains unclear.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelford_water_pollution_incident

Cause

On 6 July 1988 John Stephens, a relief tanker driver working for Bristol-based distribution firm ISC, arrived at Lowermoor Water Treatment Works on Bodmin Moor and found it unmanned.[5] Being unfamiliar with the location, he had been given a key by another driver and told simply that "once inside the gate, the aluminium sulphate tank is on the left".[6] However, the key fitted almost every lock used by the South West Water Authority (SWWA). After twenty minutes looking for the correct tank he tried the key on a manhole cover and when it unlocked believed he had accessed the correct tank.[5][6] He poured the load of 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate, used to remove solid particles from cloudy water, into the tank, which actually held treated water prior to distribution to the consumers in Camelford. This immediately contaminated the water supply to 20,000 local people and up to 10,000 tourists.[6][7][8] The maximum recorded aluminium concentration was 620,000 micrograms per litre compared with the maximum concentration admissible at the time by the European Community of 200 micrograms per litre.[9]

Response

For several days the water authority insisted the water was safe, and should be mixed with orange juice to disguise the taste of the as yet unknown contaminant.[6] One customer who telephoned the authority the day after the contamination was told "there had been some acidity, but the water was perfectly safe to drink," and was no more harmful than lemon juice.[10] On 14 July 1988 the authority sent a circular letter to all customers "asserting that the water from the treatment works was of the right alkalinity and was safe to use and drink."[11] Within two days, the authority suspected the source of the contamination was the erroneous delivery, which was confirmed on 12 July when the driver was asked to return to the treatment works. However, it was not until ten days later on 22 July that the authority's chairman Keith Court authorised a public notice, containing the first mention of the aluminium sulphate, to be published in the sports section of a local newspaper, the Western Morning News.[12][6][13] Stephens stated that after the site meeting where he confirmed he had delivered the chemical to the wrong tank he was told by the authority "not to mention it to anyone else".[14] The SWWA district manager, John Lewis, said they had realised within 48 hours that aluminium sulphate was the likely cause of the contamination, but Lewis claimed he was instructed by Leslie Nicks, the head of operations, not to tell the public.[15][16]

Douglas Cross, a consultant biologist based in Camelford, tested the water and found that it contained "not only aluminium sulphate but other noxious substances, too. As the acidic liquid travelled from the plant into people's homes, it corroded the copper pipes and their soldered joints, made of zinc and lead."[1][6] Official advice to boil the water before drinking was, according to Cross, "dangerous advice because it concentrates the contaminants. They kept flushing the pipes out for months after the incident. This will have stirred up debris in the bends and only have lengthened the amount of time the water was coming through the taps with all sorts of metals in it."[6] 60,000 salmon and trout were killed in the Camel and Allen rivers during the flushing out process.[17][18] The contamination was compounded by the failure of the authority to carry out the required six-monthly cleaning of the tank, which had not been cleaned for three years leading to a build up of sludge.[19]

A month after the contamination, Michael Waring at the Department of Health (DH) wrote to every doctor in Cornwall saying that, "although he had no detailed information on what exactly was in the water or how much people might have drunk, he could assure them that no lasting ill effects would result."[20] GK Matthews, a senior toxicologist at the DH, suggested a team of medical experts should be sent to the area immediately but a month later said he had been "overruled".[20] The National Union of Public Employees alleged that "The procedure by which the driver had access to the site was not confined to Lowermoor but is common through the authority's region. We believe this is not unconnected with reduced staffing levels and privatisation plans."[21]

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Last edited by TonyGosling on Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:00 am; edited 5 times in total
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still thirsting for justice
In response to Tony Traver's warning of an English backlash over unequal spending on devolved regions, Michael Jacobs and Gavin Kelly call for a new fiscal constitution to defend redistibution of wealth in the UK
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/1999/jun/09/guardiansocietysupplemen t14
The Guardian, Wednesday 9 June 1999
On a hot July afternoon in 1988 the driver of a chemical tanker turned through the gates of the Lowermoor water treatment works near Camelford, north Cornwall for what should have been a routine delivery. He was unfamiliar with the layout of the plant and his cargo of aluminium sulphate discharged into the wrong tank.
Twenty tonnes of the liquid poured into the water distribution system, poisoning the supply to 20,000 people in the surrounding area. In 1991 South West Water Authority was convicted at Exeter crown court of endangering public health by supplying polluted water and was fined £10,000 with £25,000 costs. In 1994, 148 victims of the disaster finally settled out of court for damages totalling almost £400,000.
As the 11th anniversary of the incident approaches, victims of the poisoning continue to suffer severe short term memory loss and other health problems. Yet they are still awaiting a proper investigation into an event they claim has ruined dozens of lives.
Campaigners were told last month that evidence in support of a public inquiry had been carefully considered by the DETR and other government departments and that ministers hoped to announce their decision on what was a complex issue "in the near future."
The North Cornwall MP, Paul Tyler, who has long argued the case for a public inquiry into the affair, says it has always been accepted that the original incident was a terrible accident.
What continues to concern him is the apparent cover-up after the event - which happened during the run-up to privatisation of the water industry - and the fact that victims did not have a public opportunity to examine representatives of the SWWA about their behaviour.
"I can't think of any comparable accident or mistake anywhere in Britain, particularly one involving what was a government agency, where there was no attempt to investigate what went wrong and why," he told the Guardian.
"It's not just a question of natural justice, it is to make sure that lessons really have been learned."
Those affected by the incident feel bitter that no recognition has ever been given to the long term health problems they claim were a direct result of the water poisoning. Bitter, too, about the way their original compensation claim was settled out of court on the advice of their own solicitors.
Doreen Skudder, who has continued to press for an official investigation into the water poisoning since the death of her husband three years ago, says those who suffered health problems in the wake of the poisoning were robbed of the opportunity to have the facts brought out in public.
"We all desperately wanted to go to court because we wanted the full facts to come out but we were stitched up. People didn't want to settle. But when the final settlement was offered they were told that if they didn't take it legal aid would be withdrawn.
"We were forced into it. I feel that we were horrendously let down by our legal team. There were people who got only £1,200 compensation who have never been able to work again because of what happened."
Many in north Cornwall today would prefer to forget all about the incident, fearing that reopening old wounds is not good for the region's reputation. Some victims complain they have faced ridicule after talking about the impact the incident had on their lives and are now reluctant to speak out publicly.
One elderly couple, who asked not to be identified, said that a lot of people simply didn't believe they were still suffering.
The man, now in his 70s, said he had been mowing the lawn on the day the poisoned water reached the home in which he and his wife still live. Because of the heat he drank several glasses of orange squash which disguised the taste of the water.
"A couple of days later I was sitting in a chair and found I couldn't move. My wife's hair turned red when she washed it and she had a rash up her arms. We had nausea, diarrhoea and mouth ulcers."
The couple's health deteriorated rapidly in the aftermath of the pollution incident - the lasting legacy of which is a problem of short term memory loss caused, they say, by aluminium lodged in the brain.
"We can't concentrate and we can't remember things from day to day. We lose things or put them down in funny places, something we never did before. It's got to the state that I can't even repair the car. I pick up the manual and read it but by the time I have got the bonnet up I've forgotten what I have read."
Like others who sought compensation from the water company they feel they were railroaded into accepting the out of court offer. Both were ill at the time and say they felt threatened when told that legal aid would be withdrawn.
"When it came down to it the compensation was peanuts. But we are not after money; what we want is our day in court to let the world know what they have done to us. It has been one big whitewash."
'He became almost incoherent'
Doreen Skudder is a fighter. With the catalogue of health problems that have affected her and destroyed the husband she loved she has had to be.
The Skudders were away from home, walking on Dartmoor with visiting relatives, on the day aluminium sulphate was mistakenly introduced into the water distribution system at Lowermoor.
They noticed nothing wrong when they returned home that night and Mrs Skudder believes the pollution did not reach their bungalow on a hill just outside Camelford until the following day.
It was then that the Skudders began to experience problems. After drinking a flask of coffee they had made before setting out on a picnic outing to a nearby beach they became drowsy and unable to think straight. Back home that evening milk curdled in the cup when Doreen's husband, Ivan, made himself a hot drink.
Mrs Skudder, who has fought tirelessly for a public inquiry into the Lowermoor incident, says they were assured on four occasions that the water was safe to drink but that it was not until more than two weeks later that they learned of the nature of the water poisoning.
Despite her own health problems in the aftermath of the water poisoning - kidney pains, eczema and problems with swallowing - Mrs Skudder was even more preoccupied with the rapid deterioration in her husband's health.
"He had always been a healthy man but he became a changed person, very tired and bad tempered and so forgetful it was unbelievable. He became almost incoherent and because he couldn't string two words together he became enraged and would start screaming at me.
"It was a nightmare time, the man who had been my friend was suddenly a fractious person and just so different. Our retirement, our life, everything was wrecked. He was depressed and bitter for the rest of his life."
Ivan Skudder died of lung cancer three years ago aged 71. But Mrs Skudder, who now suffers from multiple chemical sensitivity, is not prepared to let the matter drop.
"My husband always wanted me to carry on with this to the bitter end and that is what I intend to do."

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boiling water

Will a new inquiry on the Camelford poisoning get any nearer to the truth?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2001/aug/22/guardiansocietysupplemen t5

Doug Cross - The Guardian, Wednesday 22 August 2001

Thirteen years after Britain's worst ever water poisoning incident at Camelford in Cornwall another inquiry has been announced. But the 20,000 victims and others hoping to get to the bottom of what happened in July 1988 when 20 tons of aluminium sulphate was dumped into the Lowermoor public treatment works should be cautious. The new inquiry will focus on claims of long-term medical damage, but the wider lessons that need to be learned are still being ignored.

The last inquiry was only set up with reluctance. It was not in the interests of the then Conservative government to damage its highly controversial water privatisation plans. A committee was headed by Professor Barbara Clayton, who took the official line that such a widely used substance as aluminium sulphate could not possibly have had any adverse long-term medical effects on people.

The new committee has not got off to the most encouraging start to what is supposed to be the defining investigation of this long-running saga. It is to be headed by Professor Frank Woods, an academic from within the same medical hierarchy which is distrusted by the victims who will be asked to co-operate with the new investigators.

This will not be a public inquiry and it will have to rely on witnesses volunteering evidence. Yet there are aspects of the poisoning that are still being swept under the carpet, and which merit a much more powerful judicial review.

When the aluminium sulphate got into the water supply it broke down to release several tons of sulphuric acid. This is a scheduled poison, and administering it to the public is a criminal offence. The refusal of the water authority and the health authority at the time to reveal the presence and nature of this poison for two weeks compounded what was effectively a criminal act.

A number of elderly people in the area died unexpectedly following the incident, and the poisoning may have contributed to their deaths. The water company was taken to court and found guilty of causing a public nuisance; but, despite a formal complaint to the police in 1988, no action was taken to investigate the poisoning of at least 20,000 people, or of its subsequent concealment. Nor, from recent correspondence, has the chief constable of the Devon and Cornwall police any intention of opening the case, claiming that his officers have found "no evidence".

Yet hundreds of water samples taken at the time, which are still a matter of public record, clearly revealed the presence of the poison. There is an abundance of forensic evidence to support a criminal prosecution.

One incident stands out. The poisons unit at Guy's Hospital in London was, we believe, put under pressure from above to drop its interest in the case - so our foremost national poisons emergency unit never visited Camelford to investigate. This was regardless of the evidence of deaths of livestock on local farms and serious reproductive damage to pedigree pigs which drank contaminated water.

The official medical claim from the health authority was that there was no known pathway for aluminium to be absorbed into the body. I would argue that this was a misrepresentation of scientific facts, however it was accepted by the judge in the trial of South West Water. He instructed the jury that medical damages could not be awarded. The victims therefore received negligible compensation. This alone is adequate reason for a judicial review, since it resulted in a miscarriage of justice for the victims.

The incident also revealed the public sector's inability to appreciate the nature of such emergencies and to respond to them adequately.

The dramatic effects of the poisoning on animals were particularly crucial, as they provided abundant early warning of potential damage to people. Yet the independent collection of tissues from dead livestock was left to people like me, and local doctors such as Dr Richard Newman and Dr Neil Ward. We were rubbished by the medical and veterinary establishment as "pseudo-scientists".

The failure of the public sector to investigate the Camelford poisoning continues to affect people far from the original site of the accident. Aluminium sulphate spillages, and even deliberate discharges of aluminium-rich sludge from treatment works are still commonplace, not only in Britain but worldwide. In Northern Ireland more than 30 tons of aluminium sulphate was released a few years ago into the river Bann. Yet the government still refuses to accept this is a major problem despite community anger.

If this latest investigation fails to provide a complete analysis of the medical effects and the incompetent investigation that followed, then the opportunity to learn from it and prevent further suffering elsewhere will be lost for ever.

• Doug Cross is a consultant biologist who has worked for the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. At the time of the Camelford poisoning he lived in the town, helped set up the local community action group, the Camelford scientitic advisory panel. More info: www.doubleff.co.uk

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

5 March 2012 Last updated at 07:52

Camelford water poisoning: Carole Cross inquest resumes

[Image]Carole Cross
Post-mortem tests showed high levels of aluminium in Carole Cross's brain

Camelford water inquest to resume
Town's mass poisoning 'ignored'
Water poisoning cover up denied

The inquest into the death of a woman linked to a mass water poisoning incident in Cornwall more than 20 years ago is due to resume.

Carole Cross lived in Camelford when 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate was accidentally added to the water supply.

She died in 2004 at the age of 59 from a rare form of Alzheimer's. A post-mortem examination found she had high levels of aluminium in her brain.

The inquest is being held by the West Somerset Coroner in Taunton.

Health problems

About 20,000 customers were affected when a relief lorry driver mistakenly added 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate to drinking water at the Lowermoor treatment works in July 1988.

In 2010, Mrs Cross's inquest was told that on the night of the incident the then South West Water Authority (SWWA) was inundated with hundreds of complaints about dirty, foul-tasting water.

But the authority insisted the water was safe to drink and no warnings were issued to the public for at least two weeks.

Local residents reported a range of health problems, including stomach cramps, rashes, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, aching joints and some even said their hair had turned green from copper residues.

Mrs Cross lived on the outskirts of the town and later moved to Dulverton in Devon. She died at Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital in 2004.

She suffered from cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) - also known as congophilic angiopathy - and her husband Dr Doug Cross has, for many years, believed the high levels of aluminium she was exposed to in Camelford contributed to her death.

The last hearing of her inquest was held in November 2010.

Following testimony from scientists, the coroner agreed to the water authority's request to adjourn the inquest.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BB effing C TOTALLY failed today to mention the CRUCIAL role of water privatition in this mass poisoning!
It's all about what they don't tell us.


Camelford case coroner accuses water authority of gambling with 20,000 lives
Coroner says water poisoning following mistake at treatment works may well have caused death of Carole Cross years later
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/mar/14/camelford-case-coroner-w ater-poisoning
Steven Morris - guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 14 March 2012 12.52 GMT

Carole Cross, who lived in Camelford, Cornwall, died in 2004 from a rare brain disorder. Photograph: SWNS.COM
A coroner has criticised a water authority for "gambling" with the lives of up to 20,000 people by not telling them for more than a fortnight about Britain's worst mass poisoning.
The coroner, Michael Rose, said he suspected that the South West Water Authority deliberately kept quiet about the contamination, in 1988, because the industry was being privatised.
Giving his verdict at the inquest of Carole Cross, who died 16 years after the Camelford disaster, Rose said there was a "real possibility" that the accident, in which a lorry driver poured 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate into the wrong tank at a treatment works in north Cornwall, had contributed to Cross's death.
Rose said Cross had been exposed to a "vast excess of aluminium sulphate" and, after her death, was found to have a high content of aluminium in her brain.
He said: "I can say that the incident may either have contributed to or possibly caused Mrs Cross's death, but I do not have sufficient evidence to say so conclusively."
Giving a narrative verdict, the coroner said the "problems" at the Lowermoor treatment plant "give rise to the very real possibility that such aluminium may be a factor in her death".
Rose, the West Somerset coroner, heavily criticised the response of the South West Water Authority to the accident.
He said water authority bosses were gambling with the lives of 20,000 people by not admitting for 16 days that the supply had been contaminated. He questioned why public health officials had not been told of the problem immediately.
Rose said he harboured the "deepest suspicion" that the true nature of the 1988 disaster was not revealed immediately because the water industry was being privatised. He said there was a "deliberate policy not to advise the public of the true nature until some 16 days after the occurrence of the incident".
Following the blunder, people who lived in and around Camelford reported that their drinking water was black and was sticking to their skin.
Cross continued to drink the water after the water authority assured people that it was fit to drink. She and her husband, Doug, moved out of the area, but by late 2002 her health began to deteriorate.
She had been a skilled craftswoman but became less able and started to have difficulty performing simple tasks such as shopping.
She died in hospital in Somerset in 2004, aged 59, and was found to have died of a severe form of the brain disease cerebral amyloid angiopathy, (CAA) usually associated with Alzheimer's disease. There was a "very elevated level" of aluminium in the brain.
Rose concluded by offering words of comfort to the people of Camelford. "There is no need to fear that you might later become a victim of Lowermoor," he said. "I have little doubt the overwhelming number of residents in July 1988 ingested little or no aluminium.
"The case of Mrs Cross was decided on very specific facts which are unlikely to be replicated elsewhere except in some exceptional circumstances."
The South West Water Authority stopped providing water for Cornwall and Devon in September 1989 when the limited company South West Water took over. The two are not connected.
Speaking after the hearing, James King, the head of drinking water services at South West Water, said treatment at Lowermoor and every other works in the UK had been "transformed" since 1988. He said site access and chemical deliveries were always strictly controlled. There were now "continual After the verdict Cross's widower called for more research into the long-term impacts of the Camelford incident.
In a statement, he said: "Today's verdict comes after eight years of fighting to discover the truth of what happened to my wife, Carole.
"I hope today's verdict prompts further study into the long-term effects of the Camelford incident, to give reassurance to my friends and neighbours in the town."

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lethal cover up: Britain's worst water poisoning scandal

By SUE REID
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-502442/A-lethal-cover-Britains -worst-water-poisoning-scandal.html
Last updated at 23:12 14 December 2007

Angela Franks received £600 for the disruption of her holiday

At first glance, Angela Franks looks in good health.

Standing on the seafront in her hometown of Exmouth, the wind ruffles her strawberry blonde hair and the long skirt which she wears down to her ankles. The illusion, however, is short-lived.

As she starts to walk, it is with a heavy limp and within 50 yards she is so exhausted that her entire body shakes uncontrollably.

After Angela finally reaches the local coffee shop, the trembling of her swollen legs is so bad that the table rocks haphazardly, threatening to spill her mug and croissant onto the floor.

No wonder, near to tears, she declares bravely: "When I am dead, I want an autopsy done on my body. It might help all the people who, like me and my two children, drank the water in Camelford all those years ago."

For she and her family were victims of one of Britain's most high-profile public health scandals in which victims complained of brain damage, memory loss and joint problems.

They were enjoying a caravan holiday in the picturesque north Cornish town when the country's worst water pollution incident happened on July 6, 1988.

A relief delivery driver turned up at the local Lowermoor water treatment works on the edge of Bodmin Moor with a 20-ton load of highly caustic aluminium sulphate, which is used to clear cloudy water ready for drinking. The toxic chemical was accidentally tipped into the wrong tank, feeding water to Camelford.

Ninety minutes later, out of the taps in a 140-square-mile area of Cornwall, came a foul water which poisoned everyone who drank it.

Angela has never spoken out until now.

But finally, after two decades of stone-walling by the authorities, alarming facts about the Camelford water incident are beginning to emerge.

This week, a coroner opening the inquests of two women who lived in the area at the time called for a new police investigation into the tragedy.

He said the Devon and Cornwall constabulary must "look into the allegations of a possible cover-up".

He acted following the discovery that both dead women had "high levels" of aluminium in their brains, which could not have got there by chance.

Disturbingly, the tests on the women are the first of their kind although it is thought that up to 20,000 local people and 10,000 holidaymakers - like Angela - unwittingly drank the Camelford water in the hours and days after the spillage.

Hundreds began to suffer effects after drinking or bathing - including skin peeling, hands and lips sticking together, hair turning green and fingernails blue.

By nightfall that day, people were vomiting and had diarrhoea. Next morning, many had skin burns, aching joints and mouth ulcers that took weeks to heal.

Angela's family - which included her seven-month-old daughter, Cherie, whom she had just stopped breast-feeding - and a son, Daniel, of 20 months, were no exception.

Less than two hours after the Camelford spillage, she made a cup of tea in the holiday caravan and the milk curdled. Angela threw it away, boiled the kettle and made a cup of black coffee instead using water from the tap.

Almost immediately she began to feel queasy.

Later that evening, when she washed her children, they screamed as the water touched their skin and stung their eyes.

In the caravan, she put the children to bed.

"Cherie was hysterical at one point. Her eyes were red. She had diarrhoea, so I didn't like to give her milk. Instead, I made up a bottle of boiled water from the tap.

"I didn't realise it then, but I was poisoning my own baby," she says.

The following day, Angela's hair was bleached white as a result of the shower she had the night before. Cherie had nappy rash. Daniel was sickly.

John, her husband, had mouth ulcers.

Assuming they had suffered a simple bout of food poisoning, they continued to drink tea made with tap water and gave the children orange juice, diluted with the same water.

"We were told nothing," remembers Angela.

"We had no idea every drop of water in the whole area was dangerous to drink.

"We went to the doctor and he said there had been other people with the same symptoms.

"He gave Cherie some Calpol. He said she must have caught a bug. He never told us not to touch what was coming out of the taps."

As the family left the surgery, loudhailer vans appeared, telling everyone that there was something wrong with the water.

"They said it would not hurt anyone and to disguise the taste of the water with orange juice.

"I begged the lady at the caravan site to give me some fresh water to feed the baby. The next day we went home," she says.

A few months later Angela became ill.

She was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph glands of the leg.

She had an operation to remove the resulting malignant growth on her left thigh. She has since undergone another operation to remove a new growth on the same leg.

"At the time, I didn't blame the Camelford water," she explains.

"Then, as more and more people from that area began to complain of sickness, I realised that it could be the cause of my problems."

Angela also has osteoporosis in her neck.

Her specialist believes she may have a neurological complaint which causes her to shake.

There is also speculation that her brain has been damaged and she has early onset Alzheimer's.

Meanwhile, her daughter, now a beautician, is constantly tired.

Her son a is keyboard player and guitarist but the joints in his hands have become inexplicably painful.

"I have to wonder if they have been damaged by the Camelford water too,' she adds.

"No one knows what the long-term effects will be of feeding a baby and a toddler amounts of water that contained between 500 and 3,000 times the maximum levels of aluminium that was safe."

Yet it is the apparent cover-up by successive governments that disturbs her - and others who fear they were poisoned.

Three children at the local nursery school, where orange juice diluted with the water was served to pupils, were later diagnosed with leukaemia.

In a single street of Camelford, 13 residents have died of cancer.

Carole Cross died in 2004 aged >58.

An autopsy revealed abnormally high levels of aluminium in her brain and she had suffered a neurological disease. Her case is one of the two at the centre of the new police investigation.

Her widower, Douglas, says: "The amount of aluminium in my wife's brain was equivalent to one teaspoonful of that water - yet it killed her.

"There have been myriad unexplained illnesses here - and nearly two decades of those in authority ignoring a catastrophe.

"I believe at least 20 people have died from drinking the water."

But is he right? After all, cancer and other illnesses can occur in clusters without apparent cause.

Yet what is so troubling about Camelford is that key facts have been obscured.

A Mail investigation into the events of that July in Cornwall has uncovered a crucial and unpublished police report which shows the Camelford treatment plant was not supervised at the time of the fateful delivery.

The relief delivery driver, from a Bristol chemical company, had never been there before and was given an eight-year-old key to the plant by another driver. Dangerously, the key fitted almost every lock on the gates and manhole covers used by the South West Water Authority, a public body that supplied the area with water.

Yet the driver was simply told that "once inside the gate, the aluminium sulphate tank is on the left".

No wonder he made such a disastrous mistake.

The police report explains what happened next.

"The driver looked around, on the left, and he found a manhole cover which he tried with the key. It unlocked. Thinking he had found the right place he discharged his load, pouring the aluminium sulphate into the tank."

But it was not the storage tank, where the aluminium sulphate would have reacted to draw out impurities from the water.

It was the tank holding treated water just before it was about to go into thousands of homes.

The result, concludes the hitherto unpublished police account, was "a massive and instant contamination of the water supply."

Worse was to follow. For days, the water authority insisted the water was safe.

Officials took nearly a week to identify the cause of the poisoned water and ten more to reveal it in a tiny advertisement in the local paper.

We have also been handed an explosive letter which reveals how officialdom set out to downplay the Camelford disaster and any wrong-doing by the water authority, which was about to be privatised by the Conservative government of the day.

The letter from a water official to Michael Howard, then Minister of State for Water and Planning, states that a police investigation into the poisoning incident was viewed as "very distracting".

It goes on to say that any subsequent prosecution of South West Water would also "be totally unhelpful to privatisation . . . and render the whole of the water industry unattractive to the City".

So, did these commercial concerns contribute to the fact that the people of Camelford were first lied to and then ignored?

There has never been a public inquiry and, all too often, those who complained were labelled neurotic troublemakers.

The Mail has learned that even local doctors - perhaps advised by the local health authority - turned away those who were suffering ill-effects, telling them "it is all in your mind".

But some refused to be silenced.

Douglas Cross remembers the moment he discovered the disaster in the town where he worked as a freelance forensic scientist.

"It was the morning after.

"I had had a cup of tea, the water stayed clear but there was something in the bottom of the cup. I was suspicious immediately. I went out to look at the river and saw all the fish in the water dead. I picked out five and brought them home.

"Later, when I tested them, I found they had 70 times the normal amount of aluminium.

"At least 50,000 fish were killed, and 40 lambs in one field where they drank from a mains tap died or were very ill. The 200 animals in a field nearby which had drunk spring water remained well.

"Pigs, dogs, rabbits and cattle became sick. Over 40 Muscovy ducklings died at one farm, 1,300 hens at another.

"Yet they kept saying humans couldn't be hurt by it. Well if animals, why not people?"

The water was, indeed, deadly. It contained not only aluminium sulphate but other noxious substances, too. As the acidic liquid travelled from the plant into people's homes, it corroded the copper pipes and their soldered joints, made of zinc and lead.

"We were drinking a cocktail of metals and god knows what else," adds Mr Cross angrily.

"We were also advised to boil the water.

"This was even more dangerous advice because it concentrates the contaminants.

"They kept flushing the pipes out for months after the incident.

"This will have stirred up debris in the bends and only have lengthened the amount of time the water was coming through the taps with all sorts of metals in it."

However, when Mr Cross's wife first began to lose her mind, he did not blame the Camelford water.

He cannot recall her drinking the water, but now believes she must have done.

For two years before her death, she began to have trouble counting change. She would put out her hand to the shop assistant asking for it to be worked out for her.

She forgot how to paint, a hobby at which she excelled.

Finally, Douglas took her to Taunton hospital, near their home in Somerset.

"It was at the hospital, the day before she died, that the penny dropped," he recalls.

"I thought she might get better when the consultant - who had no idea of our Camelford links - came up to me and said it looked like metal poisoning.

"The next thing, a German locum took me aside. He said they saw a lot of this kind of brain problem in Germany and it was caused by aluminium poisoning."

Mr Cross contacted West Somerset coroner Michael Rose and explained his fears.

The coroner asked neuropathologist Professor Margaret Esiri and her team at Oxford University to examine Mrs Cross's brain and spinal cord.

The results found high levels of aluminium which may have caused her condition: beta amyloid angiopathy, a form of cerebrovascular disease usually associated with Alzheimer's. There was no history of the ailment in her family.

"If the coroner decides my wife was unlawfully killed or there was misadventure because of an industrial accident, then we will have touched the truth," adds Mr Cross.

Two reports by Government appointed advisory groups in 1989 and 1991 each concluded there was no evidence of aluminium poisoning of people in the Camelford area.

They claimed that any suffering had been provoked by anxiety rather than damage to health.

The result? The pollution tragedy was swept under the carpet.

As for South West Water, in 1991 the authority was prosecuted for supplying water likely to endanger public health and fined a minuscule £10,000 with £25,000 costs.

Mysteriously, there were no convictions by the police.

Four years later, after a civil action against the authority, 148 people won an out-of-court settlement in compensation for any distress caused.

It amounted to a pitiful £400,000. There was no public apology.

Angela Franks received £600 for the disruption of her holiday.

Of course, the money meant nothing compared with her wrecked health.

Today, at 46, she runs a boutique in the market at Exmouth, Devon with a new partner. Her marriage broke up as her health deteriorated.

Today, she says: "We only went to Camelford because our daughter was no longer breastfeeding and on a bottle.

"John and I were a young couple with two lovely children just wanting to enjoy a family holiday.

"Now I believe that I was encouraged to poison my own children.

"I feel so guilty about giving them the water. Never a day goes by without me remembering Camelford and wishing we had never gone there."

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Whitehall_Bin_Men
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2021 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Camelford: Britainís Forgotten Aluminium Scandal
Professor Chris Exley | 29th April 2019 | Neurology | No Comments
https://www.hippocraticpost.com/neurology/camelford-britains-forgotten -aluminium-scandal/

Last year was the 30th anniversary of Britainís most infamous pollution event when 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate were inadvertently added to the potable water supplying the town of Camelford, Cornwall. Over 20,000 people were exposed to highly toxic concentrations of aluminium in drinking water over an extended time. A number of inadequate investigations into the mass poisoning culminated in a Committee on Toxicology Report in February 2013 though none of the latterís limited recommendations were enacted.
There have been a small number of investigations into the role played by aluminium in the death of individuals affected by the poisoning (https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/77/7/877; https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/ja d160648; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nan.12417) and most notably a case of cerebral amyloid angiopathy where a Coronerís Inquest concluded that exposure to aluminium was a contributing factor in the ensuing death.
We have now followed up on this specific case to add further information about the presence and distribution of aluminium in the affected brain tissue (https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/8/1459 ). We have used aluminium-specific fluorescence microscopy in parallel with Congo-red staining and polarised light to identify the location of aluminium and amyloid in brain tissue in this individual who died from a rare and unusual case of cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Aluminium was almost exclusively intracellular and predominantly in inflammatory and glial cells including, microglia, astrocytes, lymphocytes and cells lining the choroid plexus. Complementary staining with Congo red demonstrated that aluminium and amyloid were not co-located in these tissues.
The observation of predominantly intracellular aluminium in these tissues was novel and something similar has only previously been observed in cases of autism (https://www.hippocraticpost.com/infection-disease/aluminium-and-autis m/). The results suggest a strong inflammatory component in this case and support a role for aluminium in this rare and unusual case of cerebral amyloid angiopathy.
All ĎCamelford casesí so far investigated have demonstrated a role for aluminium in the death of affected individuals. After more than 30 years it remains time for a thorough investigation into the health effects of Britainís most notorious mass poisoning.

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