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HSE investigating supply to schools of metal gauze mats that contain asbestos

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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been made aware of two UK laboratory-supply companies that have supplied schools and potentially other users with asbestos-containing gauze mats. The metal gauze mats are designed for use over Bunsen burners.

HSE has assessed the overall risk of exposure to be low, but it has acted to ensure both supply companies immediately cease supply of the gauze mats, oversee arrangements to contact affected customers and provide precautionary advice on how the mats should be disposed of safely.

Any gauzes that contain asbestos should not be used and must be safely disposed of as asbestos waste. As a precaution, if you're unclear of the coating on your gauzes, you should assume they contain asbestos. Additional advice has been prepared to inform users of the action they need to take.

HSE is working closely with the Department for Education, education departments in Scotland and Wales as well as CLEAPSS (Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services) to ensure schools, colleges, local regulators, and others who may have supplied or purchased similar products are directed to its advice.

First published 05 September 2018