I don't know anything apart from what's written in the article, but going by that information alone, I would certainly have voted for a shutdown, too.
If the information in the article is correct, my question would be whay ASLEF and RMT haven't closed the line earlier. A report strongly indicating that there is a possibility of a health risk by working on the line, and then the report is supressed? That alone would make me go to the fax machine and send a very irritated formal request for grievance negotiations to the company, and a formal notice of workplace-related hazards to the swedish health & safety inspectorate and the railway inspectorate.
Trying to supress potentially controversial reports is hardly an indication of a good safety culture.
Of course, there might be other factors at play in this affair, not reported by the Evening Standard, so I'll notch back the fire & brimstone a bit until someon more knowledgeable can enlighten us.
A confidential report by a specialist firm last November confirms the presence of highly poisonous arsenic along with lead, zinc, nickel and chromium particles.
As a geologist I have to ask “in what quantities, in what concentration and in what form?”<br> The latter two elements are significant components of stainless steel (the knifes and forks you eat with), zinc is used to galvanise roofs and buckets, I bet the roof of everyone’s house that reads this will have lead flashings and some may still have lead water mains. Yes, arsenic is poisonous in its various forms but it is present all around us in the environment in small but very detectable quantities and presents no hazard to us what so ever. I analyse soils for low levels of arsenic as a means of identifying potential gold deposits. Maybe London’s streets are paved with gold!
Tunnels are filthy places and you could probably generate a scare from any analysis of tunnel grime anywhere in the world. Especially ones through which you have run trains for more than one hundred years. I would be far more concerned about the carcinogenic problems from dust – silicosis or asbestosis.
As a geologist I have to ask “in what quantities, in what concentration and in what form?”<br> The latter two elements are significant components of stainless steel (the knifes and forks you eat with),
Sure, but it is a tad difficult to inhale a fork.
We have similar problems here in Stockholm, and one of the things that were emphasised in the investigation reports was that since a certain amount of the dust was in such superfine microsizes, the medical officers were very wary of what would happen in the human body when those particles were inhaled, even though they were often composed of relatively harmless matter.
That brings me back to my first and last points. The report is deliberately alarmist and fails to identify the true nature of the threat. It rather tosses in some elemental names without any context whilst giving exotic overtones of a Victorian poisoning plot. As I concluded, dust is the real threat in this environment. Both silica (fine quartz sand) and asbestos (a very fine fibrous rock) are chemically inert (and wouldn’t poison you), but you wouldn’t want to inhale their dust.
The concept of dust control is considerably more mundane (and sells less newspapers) than the perceived need for “decontamination” that this tabloid journalism implies. I strongly suspect that the most dangerous thing that I inhale on the tube is what my fellow passengers have just exhaled!
I strongly suspect that the most dangerous thing that I inhale on the tube is what my fellow passengers have just exhaled!
Well said 'Hutch'.....!!
Personally I think the most dangerous thing that you can read on the underground are the poisonous reports published by many tabloid (so-called) newspapers! So many newspaper reports are inaccurate in respect of transport matters - as Hutch said this sells more papers that if they reported the facts and reality! This gives the general public at large the incorrect impression about public transport, which is a scandal in itself!
I am of the opinion that one London evening newspaper is trying to make life difficult for the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone (and has a long history of reporting negative stories about the underground and Ken).