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Rain has helped prevent spread of asbestos after blaze Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health yesterday said the situation was “ideal” to prevent the spread of asbestos following the HWP fire.

However, members of the public are being warned that they may need to clean out their water tanks if their homes were affected by the plume of smoke from the blaze.

In a statement released yesterday, a Ministry spokeswoman said that some asbestos roofing material was present in the building, but water from both the firefighters and rainfall would limit the potential impact of the material.

“Asbestos fibres can be harmful if they are inhaled as a dry dust,” the spokeswoman said.

“Because the Fire Service ‘drowned’ the HWP site in water yesterday and Bermuda experienced heavy rainfall this morning, the ideal situation has been created to prevent further dust from escaping the site, and most of the soot and ash fallout has now washed into drains and soakways.”

On Monday, residents in the area were advised to block their downpipes to prevent soot from entering the water tank.

Homeowners who were unable to block their pipes were yesterday advised to be careful and avoid drinking polluted water.

“Commonsense should prevail,” the spokeswoman said. “If it is evident that soot and ash have washed into the tank, it is advised that the water be considered polluted and that the opportunity be taken to clean out the tank as soon as possible.

“Bottled water should be used for food preparation and for drinking until the tank is refilled with water.”

Government also said that it has no plans to get involved with the issue of the cleaning of the tanks, and it is too early to say how much of the damage caused by the fire will be covered by insurance.

Anyone with concerns is advised to call 278-5333 for advice.

Asbestos was widely used in construction decades ago, sprayed on steel beams and wrapped as lagging around boiler pipes.

Since then, it has been linked to malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis, causing it to be banned for use in construction by the European Union.

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Published August 10, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 10, 2011 at 9:00 am)

Rain has helped prevent spread of asbestos after blaze Ministry of Health

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