The history to these issues:
26th March 2021 15:35
Dear Mr Cardin
I am sorry to hear that you are disappointed with our previous response to your query on Covid-19 lateral flow test kits sent by xxxxxx.
I would like to stress that the test kits were provided to the school for issue by the DfE and the school is not aware of any health risk or safety issues associated with these kits.
As a school, we are following all DfE guidance in relation to lateral flow testing, therefore should you have any concerns about the guidance or indeed the tests themselves, the issue cannot be taken up by the school but should be raised with the officials mentioned in our previous correspondence. The school cannot be expected to answer detailed queries around the use of raw materials in tests that it has had no input in creating or commissioning. Therefore, your specific queries relating to the materials used in the testing kits should be directed to the DfE. The DfE’s coronavirus helpline is 0800 046 8687.
I would like to remind you that all participation in the lateral flow testing programme is voluntary and you have the right to withdraw consent at any time.
You can find details of the school’s Governing Body via the school’s website.
I hope this information will assist you further in your enquiries.
We thank the Headteacher for the response, but would argue that the school IS now aware of the dangers and we feel it would be extremely remiss of senior staff not to take some urgent and appropriate steps in the interests of child safety. So rather than choosing not to inform parents of the perceived dangers and simply deferring to the DfE’s (Department for Education) unevidenced assurances, they should be proactive on our children’s behalf, contact the DfE and ask them to …
- Clarify exactly the precise levels of residual ethylene oxide likely to be contained in the swabs by interrogating the manufacturer and providing the evidence, which can then be passed onto parents
- Clarify that these levels are safe and meet the requirements of the International Standard ISO 10993-7
- Clarify whether it is in fact safe for young children to voluntarily insert the swabs in their noses and mouths repeatedly on and on into the future, thereby potentially exposing themselves to greater risk
We’ve raised this with:
Angela Eagle MP
Wirral Council Deputy Director for Children
Public Health England (North West)
Only the latter has responded:
Our response to the Headteacher:
26th March 2021 20:16
Thank you very much for your email.
I believe the agreement to such a voluntary, invasive medical procedure should be ‘informed consent’ under Point 1 of the Geneva Convention. But neither parents nor children are in a position to volunteer and successfully give that informed consent due to your failure to provide us, and the DfE’s failure to provide the school with crucial information regarding the risks.
The UK government, which straddles both the DfE and the cancer.gov website accepts that ethylene oxide is harmful and can be cancer-causing, but on the evidence of the link to the validation process –
– sent to me by your colleague, xxxxxxx, they appear to have chosen not to correctly and rigorously screen the supplying contractors in terms of the risks attached to their products and with a view to public safety. Their focus appeared to be based on functionality and potential futility alone.
I received an unsatisfactory response today from Public Health England and will share this with the school in accordance with xxxxxxx’s prior emailed request.
I have also contacted Wirral Council’s Deputy Director for Children and Angela Eagle MP and will be back in touch when I have their responses.
Many thanks for your understanding during these difficult times,
Link to a fully accessible version of the International Standard. Part 7:
Ethylene oxide sterilization residuals