Tube dust (1)

Meeting: 
Plenary on 2014-09-10
Session date: 
September 10, 2014
Reference: 
2014/3021
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)

Question

It is over ten years since the Institute of Occupational Medicine did their study on the health impacts of tube dust, which concluded that dust levels were ‘highly unlikely’ to cause serious damage to staff and public. Since then, there have been considerable advances in our understanding of the health impacts of particulate matter. For example, we now know that brake and tyre wear plays a major part in urban road pollution, which may be comparable to tube dust, and the WHO now states that “there is no evidence of a safe level of exposure or a threshold below which no adverse health effects occur.” Given the significant progress in our understanding of the health impacts of air pollution over that time, will you commission some outside experts to measure air pollution in the London Underground and update your research?

Answer

Answer for Tube dust (1)

Answer for Tube dust (1)

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)

TfL keeps the conclusions of the IOM report under review through regular dust monitoring at a group of stations representative of the entire tube network and in Train Operator cabs. Since 2004, TfL has commissioned an external body to monitor and analyse dust on the Underground and the reports that have been produced broadly show little change over time.

The testing on the underground repeatedly indicates that the levels measured are well below HSE's Workplace Exposure levels for eight hours, with customer exposure far less than that. TfL will continue with its stringent cleaning regime to ensure that dust levels remain low. In addition TfL keeps abreast of all the evolving knowledge on air quality.

More information on how TfL manages dust levels on the Underground can be found online: http://tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/air-quality-on-underground.pdf.