Cancer-causing chemicals found by Grenfell Tower site

Grenfell Tower

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Cancer-causing chemicals have been found close to the site where Grenfell Tower once stood, according to analysis of debris and soil samples.

Samples taken from six locations up to 1.2km around the site contained elevated concentrations of the carcinogen benzene, as well as dust and a yellow oily deposit which contained isocyanates, exposure to which can lead to asthma.

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), has been published in the journal Chemosphere, and detailed "significant environmental contamination" in the surrounding area.

The samples were collected from soil and nearby homes 17 months after the tragedy which unfolded in June 2017 and left 72 people dead.

Researchers said the substances were discovered in quantities that could indicate that they resulted from the burning of specific materials used in the 2016 refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.

Study lead, Professor Anna Stec, said further analysis was needed to "quantify any risk" of conditions such as cancer, asthma and other respiratory problems.

The fire chemistry and toxicity professor at UCLan added that it was "crucial" to introduce a long-term health screening programme for residents, emergency responders and clean-up workers.

Public Health England has been monitoring air quality around the tower since the fire and said in a report last week that the "the risk to public health from air pollution remains low".


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