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Health and safety in the rubber industry - Frequently asked questions

General

How should shredded rubber be stored safely?

In 2007 HSL (the Health and Safety Laboratory) produced a briefing note on the risks from the spontaneous heating of piled tyre shred and crumb. The note outlines the nature of the problem, the risks, and the steps that can be taken to reduce the risks. It also lists sources of further information.

New guidelines Safe Storage – Combustible materials, prevent and control fire:PPG29 are also being developed by the Environment Agency for England and Wales, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency with the assistance of the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA).

What are the health effects of rubber dust and fume?

Historically there used to be an excess of bladder cancer in rubber industry workers. This was associated with the antioxidant beta-naphthylamine, which was banned in the 1950s. There have also been links from rubber dust and fume to stomach and lung cancers in the past. However, more recent studies have shown that increased risks to cancers are no longer present in the rubber industry.

There are several reports available in the health issues section of the website that provide more information on this subject. These include RUBIAC statement on Occupational Cancers and Safe to breathe – Dust and fume control in the rubber industry.

Updated 2015-05-18