The original blog post from 21st March 2021:
Tue, 23 Mar, 11:59
Dear Mr Cardin,
Thank you for your email of 21st March relating to Rapid Lateral Flow Test kits for use at home. I am pleased that you have received all of our information regarding the measures put in place to protect children and staff at xxxxxx.
The DfE have provided schools/colleges with an explanation of the technology behind asymptomatic testing and the role these tests play in the national COVID-19 testing programme. A link to this information is shared below:
The tests underwent a rigorous validation process including evaluations from Public Health England and the University of Oxford. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) provides ongoing regulatory oversight. Neither the DfE, Public Health England or Wirral Local Authority have brought to our attention any risks associated with the use of these lateral flow device home test kits, however should you feel unable to make a decision relating to use of the home test kits provided by the Department for Education, then please raise your concerns to the following:
- Wirral Council – Simone White, Director of Children’s Services, PO Box 290, Brighton Street, Wallasey, CH27 9FQ
- Public Health England Northwest, Telephone 0344 225 0562
- Local MP – Ms Angela Eagle, Sherlock House, 6 Manor Road, Liscard, Wallasey, CH45 4JB
I would be grateful if you would forward to me any copies of the responses you receive and I will share with our Governing Body.
Wed, 24 Mar, 22:47
Thank you very much for your email. I’m afraid I’m disappointed by your response for several reasons.
- The validation process you kindly linked to appears not to be ‘rigorous’. It is a functional, scientific protocol, focused only upon areas of scientific robustness, futility, and failure. Despite your assertions on ‘rigour’, nowhere is the safety of children, adults or the presence of cancer-causing ethylene oxide covered. In fact this appears to have been skipped past
- Similarly, the link to Rapid Flow Antigen Testing for People Without Symptoms is again purely functional and informative of the process itself. Again, there is no mention of public safety or more specifically, the presence of the chemical compound ethylene oxide
- More broadly, you have failed to acknowledge my primary concern on the presence of ethylene oxide, and knowing of the danger, should my children agree to go ahead and volunteer, it appears they would be willingly putting themselves at risk
- You have not acknowledged either yours or central government’s failure to pre-notify children and parents, which I clearly stated in my email
- Despite being appraised of the facts, as far as I’m aware, you haven’t responded by alerting other parents or children who, due to the failure to pre-notify, will remain unaware that the tests contain unknown levels of what is stated by the UK government to be a dangerous, carcinogenic chemical compound
Despite my forwarding of a link to what I believe to be the relevant ISO (International Standard) on residual ethylene oxide, this again was not acknowledged. I feel an answer on what are safe, acceptable levels of residual ethylene oxide is likely to be found here.
Thank you very much for providing the names of the three parties whom you believe ought to be notified. I will interpret this as a timely acknowledgment on the school’s part that the situation is indeed urgent, unsafe, and that appropriate steps now need to be taken to remedy it. Perhaps one of these parties can provide a very welcome solution.
As requested, I’ll contact them as soon as possible with my safety concerns and forward their responses for you to share with school governors.
Finally, as governors are being notified, please can you provide their names or a link to where I can find them, and can you advise whether they have been informed of my urgent correspondence?
25th March 2021
26th March 2021