Dear Department for Education,
This request is in relation to the use of the Innova lateral flow test (the “LFT”) being used across schools in the UK.
We are in receipt of correspondence from Innova confirming that the swab used in the LFTs is sterilised by ethylene oxide. Given the known toxicity and potential carcinogenicity of ethylene oxide, we are concerned by this.
Under the ‘Freedom of Information Act 2000’, we request disclosure of the following:
- information as to what, if any, independent tests have been carried out to check for any residues of ethylene oxide on a random sample of swabs;
- information as to what, if any, assessments have been conducted to ensure that the invasive use of these swabs for children is safe?
I understand that, under the Act, I am entitled to a response within 20 working days of your receipt of this request.
Some parts of the request may be easier to answer than others. Should this be the case, I request that you release information as soon as possible as it becomes available. If my request is denied in whole, or in part, I ask that you justify all decisions to deny disclosure by reference to specific exemptions of the Act.
I will expect you to disclose all non-exempt material that is within the scope of this request. I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees.
I would prefer to receive the information electronically at the email address submitted to you as part of this request.
Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. If you are
contacting us about coronavirus (COVID-19) you can find advice and
guidance on GOV.UK. This includes guidance for educational settings
in England. You can also contact our coronavirus helpline on 0800 046
8687. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and weekends 10am to
For emails and other written enquiries you will usually receive a reply
within 15 working days. You can find out how the department processes your
personal information by reading our Privacy Notice.
Dear Molly Kingsley
Thank you for your recent enquiry which was received on 15 March.
A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information; the
departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should
be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated
reference number 2021-0017997.
Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288
Dear Molly Kingsley
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 15
March. You requested information as to what, if any, independent tests
have been carried out to check for any residues of ethylene oxide on a
random sample of swabs; and information as to what, if any, assessments
have been conducted to ensure that the invasive use of these swabs for
children is safe. I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.
Following a search of the Department’s paper and electronic records, I
have established that the information you requested is not held by this
Department. It is possible that the information you are seeking may be
held by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency or the
Department of Health and Social Care.
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an
independent review panel, which were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.
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