Grenfell Tower: 'Asbestos particles in smoke' could be risk for survivors" width="976" height="549">
Firefighters who tackled the Grenfell Tower fire may have been exposed to toxic fumes
Emergency workers and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire might have been exposed to toxic fumes, including asbestos, a coroner has warned.Dr Fiona Wilcox called on the NHS to set up a screening programme for those who were exposed to smoke and dust during and after the fire.In her letter she said the impact of the disaster, which killed 72 people, could be "wide-ranging".She added that residents who lived near the site were unlikely to be at risk.In the letter to NHS chief executive Simon Stevens, the coroner wrote that "real concern" had been expressed for the health of survivors, especially children.
But she said she'd been told no physical health screening programme had been put in place for survivors.
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NHS England said its staff had provided "extraordinary care" to residents on the night of the fire and in the months afterwards, including mental health care. It promised to respond to the letter within 56 days.
Grenfell Tower is known to have contained asbestos
Dr Wilcox said firefighters involved in the events of 9/11 in New York had since suffered health problem related to fumes and dust that they inhaled. Grenfell Tower was known to contain asbestos and the smoke from the fire will have contained multiple toxic substances", she said. In 2014 three firefighters who helped in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attack died from cancer on the same day. But doctors said it was unclear whether the sicknesses could be linked to their presence at the scene.
What are the affects of dust and smoke inhalationPublic Health England has studied the air quality around Grenfell Tower since the fire concluded that air pollution remains low, with no asbestos detected.Its report said that although "small amounts of asbestos fibres will have been dispersed within the smoke plume" they presented a small risk to health."Asbestos related diseases are typically associated with a long term workplace exposure to high levels of airborne asbestos fibres," the report added.Campaign group Grenfell United welcomed Dr Wilcox's letter and said the potential long-term impacts of the fire should be taken seriously."The NHS are just about to start some screenings, we need to make sure this is the start of the long term health care for survivors now and for years to come," it said.
Respiratory diseases
Grenfell Tower fire
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