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The Sunday Telegraph article: "Great asbestos scam faces a revenue loss of £½bn a year"

Geoffrey Podger, HSE's Chief Executive, responds - 6 August 2006

The Editor
The Sunday Telegraph
1 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
E14 5DT

9 August 2006

Dear Sir

The Health and Safety Laboratory's research does not confirm that white asbestos in textured coatings poses "no health risk" (Christopher Booker, 6 August). In its report for the Health and Safety Executive, the Laboratory found rather that the level of asbestos fibres in the air from work with textured coatings will not exceed the proposed new lower control limit when carried out using good practice.

Chrysotile asbestos, as found in many textured coatings, is classified as a category 1 carcinogen hazardous by inhalation by both the World Health Organisation and the EU. Proposed changes to the law will remove work with textured coatings from licensing, as the research shows that levels of exposure to asbestos fibres are low and in fact are similar to, or less than, many other asbestos products that are not subject to licensing. However, such work involves risk and under the proposed changes will continue to be regulated: it will still need to be carried out by trained workers using proper controls to prevent exposure.

Yours faithfully

Geoffrey Podger
Chief Executive
Health and Safety Executive
Rose Court
2 Southwark Bridge
London SE 9HS

Updated 2012-09-11