Caution on Beaches – Possible Spread of West Cornwall Spill

sticky substance on beachesPublic Health England (PHE) is working with Cornwall Council, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Environment Agency after a white waxy substance has been found on a number of South West Cornish beaches.

The beaches affected include Praa Sands, Porthcurno and Penzance promenade and it is possible that the substance will travel to other Cornish beaches over the forthcoming days.

At present there are no warnings for South Central Cornwall and Roseland Peninsula Beaches, but we ask everyone to remain vigilant. We all keep you up to date here and on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Samples of the substance have been taken by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and laboratory results are awaited. Early indications are that the substance may be vegetable oil-based.

Cornwall Council will be putting up signs at beaches in the affected area from tomorrow morning to inform beach users of the situation. The authority has also instructed its beach cleaning contractor Cory to remove the substance from beaches which have been affected.

The public is advised not to handle the substance and to not to bathe or surf in water where it is present.

Dr Femi Oshin, from the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset PHE Centre, said: “We are advising people to avoid contact with the substance – at this stage we are not aware of any human health issues but if you do come into contact with the substance, please wash it off using normal soap or shower gel and water and wash your clothes.

“If you’re concerned that the substance may be making you unwell or you have related health concerns, please contact your GP or out of hours GP service.”

“We are aware of reports of the substance having an effect on dogs, who may have licked or tried to eat it. We’d advise all dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead when walking them on these affected beaches.”

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