A UNION is demanding that Caerphilly council retract and apologise for providing misleading advice about the dangers of exposure to asbestos.

Construction union UCATT say that following the closure of Cwmcarn High School due to discovering high levels of brown asbestos, the council has issued “highly misleading information about asbestos safety” and that this advice has been repeated in the media.

The union added that Caerphilly Council gave misleading statements when the council said: “Short term exposure to asbestos is not considered to be harmful, but there may be harmful effects of very long term exposure.”

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said: “This is the most outrageous thing I have seen regarding asbestos safety. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Breathing in a single fibre of asbestos could lead to the fatal and incurable cancer mesothelioma.”

UCATT have also contacted the local MP and Assembly Members and the Health and Safety Executive to raise their concerns that the wrong advice is being given to the local community.

Mr Murphy, added: “Caerphilly Council must withdraw this information immediately and apologise. Not only is it endangering everyone attending the school but anyone else reading the advice would be given the totally wrong information about the safety of asbestos.”

UCATT, which has a significant number of members at Caerphilly council, is advising them not to visit Cwmcarn High School until the asbestos problem has been safely resolved. The union will also hold urgent talks with the council about their existing asbestos policies, across all departments.

Nick Blundell, Regional Secretary for UCATT’s Wales Region, said: “Local UCATT members are outraged about this minding numbingly ignorant advice. The Council clearly have no knowledge of the asbestos regulations.”