It is feared that asbestos fibers may have contaminated hundreds of neighbouring flats which are situated to the east side of Grenfell Tower following the disastrous fire.
Officials have confirmed that Asbestos was used in the flats within the artex ceilings and also airing cupboard panels.
The news has come to light via a post on the Grenfell Action Group website.
The post said, “These same forgotten households are also subject to other hidden dangers that no-one, not a single official or media reporter – has made any public reference to asbestos.”
“There was lots of this in Grenfell Tower, notably in the artex coated ceilings of every apartment, and there were small solid asbestos panels in all apartments too.”
Apparently, residents were informed that the asbestos was perfectly safe if left undisturbed.
In addition, the online post says, “These assurances were offered as justification for a policy of avoiding the substantial cost and disruption of removing the asbestos.”
“These older coatings that contain asbestos, pose particularly serious health hazards. Inhaling microscopic asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis.”
“The Grenfell Tower inferno has surely released large amounts of asbestos laden smoke, dust and ash into the air of the entire surrounding area and who knows what other toxic substances, lead and other metals etc, may have been reduced to ash and carried by the wind and smoke all over the neighbourhood.”
“So why has no-one in authority made any public statement about this risk to public health, or begun the process of measuring the concentration of these deadly toxins in the air and the local environment?”
Reddit users also discussed the asbestos risk following the Grenfell tower fire disaster.
One of them wrote this post, “I’ve been a member of a voluntary fire fighter unit – a small village with a lot of old houses.”
“We have compiled a map, in which houses asbestos had been used, in case of fire we would have to take special measurements regarding the safety of our firefighters.”
“We had (to make) special plans for containing the water used while fighting the fire.”
“This tower was built in 1974, a time where asbestos was still used almost everywhere. I can’t image that is was completely removed in between or while doing the refurbishment.”
“If there was still an amount of asbestos, you will find a large area contaminated with it now. Does someone have some insight into this?”
The council would have a duty to establish and follow closely the Asbestos Management Plan.
In response to the asbestos concerns, Public Health England (PHE) have now released a statement on the matter to the public.
Health Protection Director for PHE in London, Dr Deborah Turbitt, said, “We know that bound asbestos, contained in building materials such as plaster or fibre board, was present in Grenfell Tower in ceilings and header panels inside airing cupboards.”
“It is possible that very small amounts of asbestos fibers will have been dispersed within the smoke plume, but would have formed only a small fraction of the smoke and particles released in the air. All smoke is toxic and any asbestos would present a minimal additional risk to health.”
“Asbestos related diseases are typically associated with a long term workplace exposure to high levels of airborne asbestos fibers.”
“Safety officers working with teams currently on the site have tested the air within Grenfell Tower for dust and asbestos and have not detected any levels of concern.”
“When work commences to clear the site there will be a system of engineering work that will prevent any asbestos being released from the site and a programme of regular environmental air monitoring conducted to ensure that both contractors and local residents are not put at any risk.”
It is likely the council will have to put in place a new asbestos management plan to take account of the Grenfell tower fire disaster and come up with a coherent way of managing the asbestos debris when the tower is eventually demolished.
Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to to put an Asbestos Management Plan in place so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/
Alternatively, for all your asbestos management plan needs call 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/ for more information or to book a training course.