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Yes, yes, but how much?

Summary:
We really do need to remind ourselves of Paracelsus - the poison is the dose:'Huge concentrations' of toxins found in Grenfell soil, study findsExclusive: Public Health England has not acted on early findings of report warning of potential carcinogensThe question is the meaning of that word “huge” isn’t it? Early results of the study by Prof Anna Stec prompted her to privately urge Public Health England (PHE), the Department of Health, the police and Kensington and Chelsea council to organise a range of tests to ensure any potential health risks can be properly assessed.In briefings to senior health agency staff, Stec said she had found “huge concentrations” of potential carcinogens in the dust and soil around the tower in west London, and in burned debris that had fallen from the

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We really do need to remind ourselves of Paracelsus - the poison is the dose:

'Huge concentrations' of toxins found in Grenfell soil, study finds

Exclusive: Public Health England has not acted on early findings of report warning of potential carcinogens

The question is the meaning of that word “huge” isn’t it?

Early results of the study by Prof Anna Stec prompted her to privately urge Public Health England (PHE), the Department of Health, the police and Kensington and Chelsea council to organise a range of tests to ensure any potential health risks can be properly assessed.

In briefings to senior health agency staff, Stec said she had found “huge concentrations” of potential carcinogens in the dust and soil around the tower in west London, and in burned debris that had fallen from the tower.

High levels of hydrogen cyanide were also present in the soil she analysed.

Well, what’s “high”?

HCN, prussic acid, hydrogen cyanide, being something that is produced in fires. It’s in cigarette smoke, car exhaust and absolutely every house or structural fire residue. Also almonds.

As a gas floating around it’s pretty dangerous. But the reason it wasn’t used for long as a WWI gas is because it’s rather light. It dissipates up into the atmosphere and with a boiling point just above room temperature it doesn’t lie resting around in the soil all that much either.

Sure, we’d like to know that it’s there. But the important thing we want to know is “how much?” For we know, absolutely, that there’s going to be some there just because humans have been burning things in London for some time now. We’re also interested in whatever additional amount Grenfell might have led to. But we are only interested as an intellectual exercise.

Without that dose information we’ve nothing but scaremongering on the back of that tragedy, do we?

Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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