We’ve now received a response on this from UK Peer of the Realm Lord Bethell. Despite the urgency, this has taken two months:
7th April 2021
Dear Angela Eagle,
Many thanks for your email and for contacting the Education Minister for a statement.
As you may be aware, the Prime Minister has announced plans to roll out the same Rapid Antigen lateral flow testing to the entire population of England. My reason in contacting you again is there is now a further aspect to this issue of which I feel I must inform you.
I acknowledge that there’s an accepted and widely practised sterilisation process underway here, carried out within the strict requirements of an international standard – ISO 10993-7 – however, the unaddressed and unresolved issue here is clear and it’s a very specific safety concern.
Please examine below a link to the dedicated evaluation process carried out by the UK Government for these imported lateral flow devices. This appears to be rushed, cursorily done, functional, and nowhere does the key area of public safety appear to have been included.
Moreover, nowhere has it been acknowledged that – post-sterilisation – the cancer-causing ethylene oxide agent remains in trace amounts in the swabs that will be invasively inserted into volunteers’ noses and throats twice a week, on into the future.
No reassurance has been provided that the constant, frequent and repeated use of these swabs by millions of people across England will not cause a cumulative, potentially dangerous build up of this toxic chemical compound over longer periods of time. This issue has simply not been addressed. Please could you contact Gavin Williamson again and make the minister aware of this serious oversight, which appears to be one of many.
Many thanks again,