Soldiers on top of a Challenger 2 tank. Photo/REUTERS
LONDON – The Challenger 2 tank and many other vehicles in the British Army’s possession may contain asbestos, a hazardous material that can cause permanent lung damage.
The Times reported this citing British Defense Procurement Minister James Cartlidge.
“Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) may be present in 2,699 pieces of British military hardware, some of which has been supplied to Ukraine,” the newspaper said on Thursday (21/9/2023) after reviewing Cartlidge’s letter to the Labor Party.
“Vehicles potentially containing asbestos include 324 Challenger 2 tanks, 765 Bulldog armored personnel carriers, 75 Challenger armored repair and recovery vehicles, 11 Fuchs armored vehicles, 14 Gazelle reconnaissance helicopters, 31 high mobility trailers, 841 Pinzgauer 4x4s, 64 vehicles Stormer armored vehicles, 540 Warrior infantry fighting vehicles and 34 Wildcat helicopters,” the newspaper said.
Some of this hardware, such as the Challenger 2, Bulldog and Stormers, has been supplied by the UK to Ukraine amidst the conflict with Russia.
“The list includes the entire stock of equipment that may contain asbestos, with the number of military-operated vehicles currently much lower,” The Times clarified.
Asbestos is a natural material that has been used in the production of tanks, airplanes, and ships throughout the 20th century.
This material poses a health risk because the compound breaks down into small fibers that can injure a person’s lungs if exposed for a long time.
This dangerous substance is linked to some forms of lung cancer, severe scarring of the lungs (known as Asbestosis), thickening of the pleura, and other diseases.