FURIOUS parents have slammed health and safety chiefs after a potentially lethal pile of dumped asbestos was left next to a youth centre for almost a month.
Anxious families phoned the council as soon as a pile of abandoned cement roofing panels containing the harmful substance was discovered yards from Bingham Community Centre around four weeks ago.
Worry quickly turned to anger as time passed without any uplift of the panels, which were eventually removed nearly four weeks later by council staff wearing protective suits and masks.
City leaders said the delay was due to the need to hire a specialist removal team for the £1000 operation.
But mum Janine Baird, 27, whose eight-year-old daughter, Ellie Greig, has been kept away from the club, said: “Is £1000 worth more than the health of children? “I don’t care if it was going to cost £10,000, it should have been taken away on the day it was removed from wherever it came from.
“The kids round here like to roam and kick about – any one of them could have smashed it up and that would have been it everywhere.”
Ms Baird said the centre – which offers sport and other activities to dozens of children aged between five and 16 – was very popular and predicted parents would demand answers.
“The people they sent to remove it had white suits and these massive gas masks on,” she said. “They said there was no risk but when I asked them why they were wearing those suits, they didn’t answer.”
City chiefs said asbestos only became dangerous if disturbed or broken and insisted the health risk from the pile was negligible. A council spokeswoman said: “The council fully understands the concerns of local residents and can confirm that asbestos cement roofing panels (as commonly found on garages etc) were found dumped in a park.
“After being notified, the area was cordoned off, the material tested and a specialist contractor engaged to remove the material for proper disposal.”
ASBESTOS is a naturally occurring mineral used in a range of building materials to make them more rigid and fire resistant.
The substance was used extensively in British construction from the 1950s to the mid-1980s, and any building erected before 2000 can contain it.
Health risks are generated by the thin, fibrous crystals of which asbestos is made.
Prolonged inhalation of dangerous asbestos fibres can result in serious illness, including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma,
and dust-related lung diseases.