Asbestos health fears for youths playing around on garage roofs

Library image.
Library image.

Health fears have been sparked after youths were seen throwing asbestos-laced cement from the roofs of old garage blocks.

Carol Lilley, of Spring Lane in Warners End, is worried that children aged as young as nine are exposing themselves to potentially deadly fibres.

She said: “Children being children they do climb on the garage roofs and they are not very safe.

“They threw two pieces of cement off which were whole, but a couple of days later it was all smashed up.

“They don’t know it is asbestos and they don’t know there is a danger.”

“They are just inhaling it so, who knows, in 15 to 20 years time they might get lung cancer – and what a waste of a life that is.” The grandmother contacted Dacorum Borough Council to report the problem and workers were sent to collect the asbestos cement chunks.

But she wants more to be done to prevent children from climbing on the roofs.

“It is coming up to the summer holidays – there are going to be kids on those garages,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how often you ask them not to do it, they still do it and one day they are going to fall through and hurt themselves.”

A spokesman for the borough council said plans to replace the garage roofs in Spring Lane have now been brought forward.

She said: “ The asbestos has been cleared from the site and we do not believe it is a risk to public health. The fibres contained within asbestos cement products are bound in place by the cement and are only released into the atmosphere through natural erosion, abrasion, drilling, cutting and breakage.

“At the point when the piece is broken off of the main sheet, there is a risk that a small amount of fibres could be released, but this would be unlikely to exceed acceptable limits, especially if outside as in this case.

“We would advise it to be left alone, but it is extremely unlikely that the children in this case would have released fibres and inhaled them just by picking up the pieces of material.”

The council is now putting up signs to warn people that the roofs are fragile and should not be climbed on.