'No increased risk to health' around Grenfell Tower, say government

10 October 2019, 19:41

The soil around the Grenfell area does not pose a risk to health
The soil around the Grenfell area does not pose a risk to health. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The UK government reassured the Grenfell community that the area is safe from dangerous chemicals in the soil.

Environmental checks show the level of chemicals in the soil around Grenfell Tower are consistent with the general levels found in other parts of London.

Initial inspections have shown there is no increased risk to health in the aftermath of the fire and a second stage of tests will be carried out to provide further reassurance.

Investigators took 93 samples from 21 areas from within a one kilometre radius of the tower where debris from the fire had been found.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's statement said that most of the substances tested for were at expected levels for the capital.

The statement said: "The substances found in the soil are unlikely to be present as a unique result of the fire and most would be present in the environment despite the fire.

Chemicals in the soil near the tower are similar to levels in the rest of London
Chemicals in the soil near the tower are similar to levels in the rest of London. Picture: PA

"There are no obvious patterns in the spread or levels of the substances found – if substances were present in the soil because of the fire, we would expect to see much higher levels closer to the Tower and spreading outwards, but the checks did not find this.

"Where some substances are at higher levels, this does not mean they necessarily present a risk to health – the levels are consistent with those in other urban areas."

The statement concluded that no action would be required from the findings, but a second stage of testing will be carried out.

Independent specialists carried out the checks which were verified by experts on the independent Science Advisory Group (SAG).

Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Chairman of SAG said he had "confidence in the results" of the investigation.

A second stage of tests will be carried out to reassure the community
A second stage of tests will be carried out to reassure the community. Picture: PA

He added: "Following a review of the technical documents by the Science Advisory Group, they have agreed that the approach taken was scientifically rigorous and met the agreed specification."

The Ministry of Housing told those still concerned about their health to contact their GP if in any doubt.

More information can also be found about the enhanced health checks that are available.

The government has provided £50 million funding to provide additional health services to the community to support this work.

Health checks are also available at various clinics in North Kensington via community provider, Enhance, who can be reached on 020 3434 2500.

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