The site involved in this fire may have involved some asbestos material and it is possible that these materials may have been released in the smoke plume and deposited in ash or debris on nearby properties and streets. This is no particular health concern as the majority of asbestos fibres are trapped within the material and not readily released into the air.
The risks to health are low and there is unlikely to be any significant exposure to asbestos.
There is no direct evidence of long-term health risks from fires involving asbestos but it is sensible that any debris is removed to minimise any potential exposure. Bristol City Council will assess the situation and arrange clean-up of the local area.
In the meantime, if you find ash or debris from the fire on your property you are advised to leave it alone. If it is absolutely necessary to move or remove debris yourself (e.g. from a car windscreen) first damp down the debris using water, and either gently flush away small particles to the drain or, wearing protective gloves to prevent scratches, pick up larger pieces carefully, place them within two plastic bags (double bag with one bag inside the other), and seal and dispose of at your local household waste recycling centre (tip). Do not sweep up or vacuum debris as this could create airborne dust. If there is evidence of debris in the garden you should avoid mowing the lawn until it has been cleared up and removed.
If there is visible debris from the fire where you grow vegetables or fruit in your garden or on your allotment, then measures you should take are:
- Gardeners and allotment holders should avoid cleaning up fire debris and report to Bristol Council to arrange clean up.
- Normal hygiene precautions should apply for the handling and consumption of fruit and vegetables. Wash and/or peel produce thoroughly under a running tap and rub them in a bowl of fresh water.
If you experience any symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, watery eyes or cough as a result of the fire please contact your GP or NHS 111 as appropriate.