The London Assembly’s Environment Committee has embarked on a new enquiry to examine the level of Tube dust on the London Underground and the impact it is having on public health.

In a recent statement, the Environment Committee said that Tube dust has been of concern for some time due to the health risks it poses for passengers and Tube workers.

Consequently, a new enquiry will look at the:

  • content of tunnel and other dust on the London Underground

  • evidence of health risks posed by Tube dust

  • potential health risks both from an occupational and public health perspective.

Those involved in the enquiry will include:

  • Peter McNaught, Director of Asset Operations, at Transport for London

  • Dr Rikard Moen, Head of Occupational Health, Transport for London

  • Dr Jenny Mindell, Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London

  • Cat Cray, RMT Stations Health and Safety Council Member.

The new enquiry follows a previous report, published in January 2019, on the health effects of particulate air pollution on the London Underground by the Committee on Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) which advises the government on air quality.

That report concluded that it was “likely” that Tube dust posed health risks and urged London authorities to find ways to reduce pollutants.

Professor Stephen Holgate, a leading air quality expert, was quoted by the Independent newspaper as noting that Tube dust is mostly made up of metal particles.

He said, “Metals from the rail and break friction are highly reactive and will damage the delicate lining cell of the lung, like welding fumes do.”

Last reviewed 11 July 2019