The UK’s House of Commons is permanently dialing down the air conditioning for fear of asbestos, and reportedly the move follows authorities having to consider an emergency evacuation after “deadly levels of asbestos were registered in the chamber,” according to The Express. Though follow-up readings were reduced to a “safe level,” according to the news source, authorities decided to permanently turn down the air last week to reduce exposure risk .
Asbestos, a group of six silicate minerals once used in a variety of construction materials, is now a known human carcinogen and linked specifically to the development of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the heart, lungs or abdomen. Technically, no amount of asbestos is considered safe because even a small inhaled or ingested portion can lead to serious health problems.
The air conditioning issue comes as the entire Palace of Westminster, which houses the House of Lords and House of Commons, is due for serious renovations, as MyMeso previously reported. The Public Accounts Committee has endorsed a plan for the building, which it said faces a “catastrophic failure,” proposed by both the House of Lords and House of Commons that would involve vacating the building for six years and cost an estimated £3.5 billion to £3.9 billion.
“Delaying a decision on how that work should be carried out will only add to the costs and risks,” said the PAC chairwoman Meg Hillier.
However, not everyone is on board. Some members of parliament are campaigning to remain in the building during the renovations and plan to vote against the proposal when it comes for vote in the next few weeks.