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Britain Retains Women on Sub Ban

January 9, 2002

LONDON (AP) _ Britain will maintain its ban on women working on submarines because a review of medical research confirmed air on the vessels could be dangerous to unborn babies.

The air in submarines contains weak levels of poisons. They are not thought harmful to adults, but are high enough to pose a potential danger to a fetus.

Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said Wednesday that women will continue to be barred from working on submarines because there is no reliable test for pregnancy in its very early stages. He said the government would continue to review the situation as research becomes available.

Contaminants in submarines include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and 30 other substances which are potentially harmful to a fetus.

British submarines are nuclear-powered and may remain submerged for up to 90 days.

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