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Monthly News Bulletin
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Back to 2003 News Archive

MS CLUSTER SURVEY

A SURVEY is under way to try to find out if cases of MS in two North Rhins villages are significantly higher than average.

It has been claimed that MS clusters in Leswalt and Kirkcolm may trace their roots to the chemical TBT which has been found in higher than normal concentrations in Lochryan, particularly on the west side.

The chemical, which is now on the banned list, was used as an anti-fouling coating on ships' bottoms and it is claimed shipbreaking at Cairnryan has led to the concentrations in Lochryan which have been found in shellfish.

This week, Dr Andrew Carnon, Consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Dumfries and Galloway, told the Free Press that the survey was being undertaken because there was no list or register of people with the disease.

What they were trying to ascertain was whether there were significantly higher numbers of people than the Scottish average with MS in the villages and if that turned out to be the case, why that should be.

However the doctor doubted if there was link between MS and the chemical concentration in Lochryan. "It is probably a red herring", he said. He added:

" There have been no reports anywhere saying TBT is linked with MS anywhere in the world".

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