With asbestos in the news on a regular basis here in the UK, we’re starting a new, regular news roundup blog for asbestos. Once a month, one of our blog posts will focus on some of the news stories coming out that deal with asbestos. This is our second news roundup and, again, it would be interesting to know what you, the readers, think of the stories that feature here. Please join in by adding your comments below the regular news roundup postings.
The BBC reported that most of the privately owned beach huts at Milford on Sea have been discovered to contain asbestos. The huts in the popular Hampshire coastal resort were severely damaged by the storm on St. Valentine’s Day with 16 of the 119 concrete huts suffering total collapse. A risk assessment revealed that 112 of the huts contained asbestos sheeting on the bottom of their roof slabs which had been damaged beyond repair and removed by a licensed contractor. The remaining asbestos has been fenced off from the public and will be removed as soon as possible.
A former mushroom farm in Martham in Norfolk caught fire and needed ten fire crews for nearby towns, including Great Yarmouth, to bring the blaze under control. More than 100 fire fighters attended the scene which destroyed buildings on a large plot of land. Several nearby residents were evacuated due to the hazards presented by asbestos and propane cylinders in the complex of barns. Although an investigation was carried out in the wake of the fire, a spokesman for the fire service revealed that there were no suspicious circumstances, despite a recent fire at the same disused barn at the end of January. The previous blaze involved a number of large hay bales and fire officers decided that letting them burn out would be the most appropriate course of action at the time.
On an international note, an Australian company in charge of coal seam gas drilling for a natural gas project has had to cease work at twelve sites in Queensland after asbestos was discovered in the drilling fluids it was using. The Australian supplier of some of its drilling fluids had found that its imported walnut-shell based product, Nutplug, contained the deadly substance. The material is being quarantined and disposed of so that drilling operations can be resumed. Nutplug is a cellulose made from ground walnut or pecan nut hulls and is a granular lubricant used to reduce torque and drag.
North Somerset Council’s trading standards team have seized illegal cigarettes from outlets in Weston and its surrounding areas as part of an ongoing investigation. The cigarettes do not comply with UK legislation that requires that all cigarettes must be able to self extinguish in order to reduce the risk of accidental house fires. The illegal cigarettes have been found to contain asbestos, ground glass, mouse and rat droppings, dead insects, floor sweepings, dust and hay.