Caerphilly council must retract asbestos misinformation

Construction union UCATT are demanding that Caerphilly Council retract and apologise for providing misleading advice about the dangers of exposure to asbestos.

Following the closure of Cwmcarn High School due to discovering high levels of brown asbestos, the council has issued highly misleading information about asbestos safety. This advice has been repeated in the media.

Caerphilly Council has said that: “Short term exposure to asbestos is not considered to be harmful, but there may be harmful effects of very long term exposure.” The council also makes further misinformed statements concerning the safety of exposure to asbestos.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said: “This is the most outrageous thing I have seen regarding asbestos safety. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Breathing in a single fibre of asbestos could lead to the fatal and incurable cancer mesothelioma.”

UCATT have also contacted the local MP and Assembly Members and the Health and Safety Executive to raise their concerns that the wrong advice is being given to the local community.

Mr Murphy, added: “Caerphilly Council must withdraw this information immediately and apologise. Not only is it endangering everyone attending the school but anyone else reading the advice would be given the totally wrong information about the safety of asbestos.”

UCATT which has a significant number of members at Caerphilly Council is advising them not to visit Cwmcarn High School until the asbestos problem has been safely resolved. The union will also hold urgent talks with the council about their existing asbestos policies, across all departments.

Under the control of Asbestos Regulations adequate training is mandatory for everyone who is or might be exposed to asbestos.

Nick Blundell, Regional Secretary for UCATT’s Wales Region, said: “Local UCATT members are outraged about this mind numbingly ignorant advice. The Council clearly have no knowledge of the asbestos regulations.”

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