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Monthly News Bulletin
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Back to 2003 News Archive

TBT WATERS CLEARED AS CAUSE OF MS

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS clusters in Leswalt and Kirkcolm have not been caused by exposure to higher-than-normal levels of a chemical in the waters of Lochryan.

That is the view of medical experts who carried out an investigation into claims that Tributyltin (TBT), a chemical once used as an anti-fouling agent on ships' bottoms, could have been responsible for higher-than-normal levels of MS in the villages.

The finger was pointed at TBT after the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency found increased levels of the chemical in shellfish. The prevalence of TBT in shellfish in Lochryan is blamed on the shipbreaking activities once carried on at Cairnryan.

The findings prompted an investigation by NHS Dumfries and Galloway.

This week, their conclusion was there was no indication that TBT was to blame. Although the area round the villages appears to show a higher-than-average prevalence, the investigation concludes this is due to people who either had MS, or who had been exposed to a condition likely to trigger the disease, moving into the area.

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