asked the Minister for the Environment if he will give approximate details of the annual cost of the usage of aerosol sprays; if he is aware that some countries strictly enforce controls for their usage; and if he will give consideration to the controlled use of such sprays here.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Aerosol Sprays.
No details are available in my Department of the annual cost of the usage of aerosoll sprays. I am aware that some countries enforce control on the use of these sprays. Ireland does not produce the chlorofluorocarbons which are used for filling aerosol cans and, by international standards, uses them only on a very limited scale. Negotiations are in progress, within the framework of the United Nations Environment Programme, on a draft international agreement on measures to control, limit and reduce the emissions of chlorofluorocarbons so as to protect the ozone layer. Ireland is participating in these negotiations and it is envisaged that the control of the use of aerosol sprays will be considered in the light of the outcome.
I am aware of the deleterious effect it can have on the ozone layer in the atmosphere but my question was directly related to the dangerous use of aerosol sprays in the domestic market. Is the Minister aware of the indiscriminate sale of aerosols either in paint form or, more dangerous, in the form of glue without health warnings being painted on them? Will the Minister insist that warnings as to the dangers of such sprays, particularly in the hands of young people — we are all aware that glue sniffing is a big problem — are put on aerosol sprays?
Yes, I will. We produce less than 0.25 per cent of the EC total of aerosol production. In 1981 the quantity used was approximately 30 per cent less than the 1976 level thus meeting the decision of 26 March 1980. There is a definite decline in the use of them and there is more control of them. The United Nations environmental group are looking into the matter and we are participating in those negotiations. Something will emerge from those negotiations to ensure that positive action is taken to eliminate any dangers whether it is in regard to those that affect the ozone layer or the health of citizens. Our main concern is in regard to their effect on the ozone layer because in the long term they could have detrimental effects from the health point of view.
Is the Minister aware that people have died as a result of aerosol sprays being used in confined spaces? If the Minister is recommending regulations will he ensure that paint spray aerosols which are used for graffiti purposes throughout Dublin carry a notice to the effect that under the Litter Act this is an offence? That may stem that practice in Dublin and elsewhere.
I accept that such cans are often used for graffiti purposes but I do not know if such a condition could be imposed because the complaint does not have anything to do with health. However, we will certainly consider it.