5 Mar 2012

Camelford water poisoning: Carole Cross inquest resumes

The inquest into the death of a woman linked to a mass water poisoning incident in Cornwall more than 20 years ago is due to resume.
Carole Cross lived in Camelford when 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate was accidentally added to the water supply.
She died in 2004 at the age of 59 from a rare form of Alzheimer's. A post-mortem examination found she had high levels of aluminium in her brain.
The inquest is being held by the West Somerset Coroner in Taunton.
Health problems
About 20,000 customers were affected when a relief lorry driver mistakenly added 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate to drinking water at the Lowermoor treatment works in July 1988.
In 2010, Mrs Cross's inquest was told that on the night of the incident the then South West Water Authority (SWWA) was inundated with hundreds of complaints about dirty, foul-tasting water.
But the authority insisted the water was safe to drink and no warnings were issued to the public for at least two weeks.
Local residents reported a range of health problems, including stomach cramps, rashes, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, aching joints and some even said their hair had turned green from copper residues.
Mrs Cross lived on the outskirts of the town and later moved to Dulverton in Devon. She died at Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital in 2004.
She suffered from cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) - also known as congophilic angiopathy - and her husband Dr Doug Cross has, for many years, believed the high levels of aluminium she was exposed to in Camelford contributed to her death.
The last hearing of her inquest was held in November 2010.
Following testimony from scientists, the coroner agreed to the water authority's request to adjourn the inquest.

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