23 June 2016
Asbestos Fears For 1984 Brighton Hotel Bomb Responders
Police are advising emergency workers who responded to the 1984 bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton to seek medical attention for potential exposure to asbestos after an officer who attended the scene died.
The warning from the force follows the death of Metropolitan anti-terror officer, Jonathan Woods, who died of mesothelioma last December.
Mr Woods, in his late 60s, was exposed to asbestos when he was sifting through rubble at the site after an IRA bomb exploded at the Grand Hotel at 3am on 12 October, killing five people.
Mr Woods had taken legal action against the Met and Sussex Police, and was suing them for failing to provide adequate safety equipment that would have protected him and others from breathing in asbestos dust and fibres.
Police are now attempting to trace other emergency service personnel who were present at the Brighton hotel in 1984, including workers from Brighton council, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and local businesses.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said: "People could have potentially been exposed to asbestos fibres within the hotel debris.
"While we know that police officers working at the scene were issued with personal protective equipment, this was some days after the explosion."
Asbestos was used in commercial buildings, including homes, hotels and schools until 1999. Its strong, malleable, heat-resistant properties made it useful for insulation. Asbestos was outlawed many years after the discovery of its cancer-causing properties.
Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that is caused by inhaling asbestos dust and fibres. The symptoms of mesothelioma do not surface for several decades after a person’s initial exposure to asbestos.
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