A FAMILY were forced to flee their home after an avalanche of RED DUST coated their belongings – and left their son in hospital.
Tom Drew, 34, said his three-year-old son is often covered in a thick layer of smoke when he plays outside in Port Talbot, South Wales.
Residents in the coastal town have been plagued by the red dust – which they claim blows in from the nearby Tata steel plant.
Dad Tom says the dust has been so severe his young son has developed asthma – resulting in several emergency dashes to their local hospital.
He said: "The doctors say they can’t be certain his asthma has been caused by the dust, but I’m certain it has.
"We won’t know for sure until we move."
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The situation is so desperate, the family are considering moving elsewhere.
The dust blows in so fiercely some days his partner is unable to put the family washing out, he said.
"It literally covers everything.
"We always have to give the line a really good wipe before we hang the washing out. Some days the dust is worse than others.
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"When my son goes into the back garden he’ll be coated in red dust within minutes. We have to put him in the bath when he gets back in.
"And my in-laws had a white cat until recently. It would come back into the house pink."
Those who work at the sprawling Tata plant in the town believe the dust is blown off the giant tankers that bring coal and iron ore to Port Talbot from overseas.
One worker, who asked not to be named, said: "They try and damp it down when they unload, but if it’s at all windy, it blows away before they can get it under control.
"I have to drive my car by the port where they dock and it gets absolutely filthy.
"Because I work there, I’d be eligible for a 25 per cent discount on a new Land Rover, but what’s the point? It would be ruined within a month."
Another local, 53-year-old Colin Broadbent, sees more of the red dust than most.
He works as an industrial cleaner in the town.
"On a bad day, it gets everywhere,” he said.
"It’s like moon dust. But it’s the health aspect that worries me most.
"I’ve got six children. Three live in Cardiff and they’re fit and healthy, but the three living with me here all have asthma. They’re 18, 15 and 10.
"It can’t be a coincidence they’re all suffer with it. It’s made their lives a misery at times.
"This bloody dust coats everything. I’m cleaning all day at work, then I come home and have to clean all the surfaces as well.
"It can be a couple of millimetres thick on a really bad day."
Last night, a Tata Steel spokesperson said: "We take our relationship with the community and environmental responsibility seriously.
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"If any member of the community has concerns – they are able to register a complaint via our 24/7 community support line on or by registering a complaint via our website. All complaints are then investigated by our Environment Team.
"We continually make investments to improve our environmental performance across our Port Talbot site."
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