Health risk assessment of asbestos air quality at Grenfell Tower

Yesterday a report containing Public Health England’s evaluation of asbestos air sampling carried out at the Grenfell Tower site between November 2018 and June 2019, was published.

Public Health England (PHE) has been asked by the Grenfell Tower Site Management Team (SMT) to review the results of asbestos sampling in air undertaken at the Grenfell Tower site during the transfer of bagged material.

The air sampling was undertaken by ATaC member, Environmental and Site Safety Solutions (ESSS) Ltd, on behalf of the site contactors Derisk UK and the SMT. Monitoring for this activity began on the 7 November 2018 and was undertaken every day of activity until it was completed on 4 June 2019.

The data provided by the SMT has been evaluated in relation to both the laboratory limit of detection and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) control limit (set out in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012).

The monitoring and analysis has identified the presence of fibres, however phase contrast microscopy (PCM) analysis has indicated that to date, for all samples the fibre concentrations have been at or below the limit of quantification of 0.01f/ ml and hence an order of magnitude below the HSE control limit of 0.1f/ ml for asbestos. Whilst there is no safe level of asbestos and exposures should be kept as low as possible, it is considered that additional risks to public health from the storage and movement of the bags of material would be low.

This monitoring coupled with the PHE monitoring suggest that the risks from asbestos fibres on-site are not distinguishable from background environmental levels.

The full report can be found on the Government website