A 12-year-old survivor from Grenfell Tower was found to be suffering from cyanide poisoning, raising concerns about whether cyanide may have been a cause of death for some of the 80 fatalities from the incident.

The Cyanide Poisoning

Luana Gomes, a 12-year-old survivor from the Grenfell Tower blaze was diagnosed to have cyanide poisoning, which raised concerns about whether cyanide may have been involved in some of the 80 deaths from the incident.

Johann Grunglingh, a clinical toxicologist, commented on the risks of cyanide poisoning, saying: “The effects are really quick… you could die within seconds depending on the level of exposure. When you breathe in oxygen normally, your cells produce energy. Cyanide blocks your capability to produce energy from oxygen.”

According to Luana’s medical papers, the cyanide could have been released from the burning of plastics inside the building or even its insulation. Luana’s mother, Andreia, who was pregnant at seven months, and her sister were also treated for potential cyanide poisoning. Unfortunately, Andreia miscarried her unborn child.

Comments On Cyanide Poisoning

Andreia expressed her anger about the building management’s decision to use cheaper and less fire-safe cladding on the tower: “You just killed my son. If it was in a normal situation, I could have gone out. And he was seven months. He could have survived… But because of the conditions, he passed away.”

Central Lancashire University’s chemistry professor, Richard Hull, said: “Plastic foam insulation is effectively made from crude oil and so it’s going to combust in more or less the same way as any other petrochemical.

“It’s got a lot of nitrogen in it and therefore when it burns it produces both carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.”

“British Rigid Urethane Foam Manufacturer’s Association (BRUFMA),” spokesman said he thinks that “no assumptions should be made about what materials created toxic gases in the fire.”

“Gases given off by any burning material are toxic. The greatest toxic hazard in almost all fires is due to carbon monoxide,” he said,

“There is no evidence to suggest that PIR (rigid polyisocyanurate) presents any special hazard in terms of toxicity.

“In tests on buildings with PIR panels, carried out by the UK Fire Research Station, no additional hazard from smoke or toxic gases was noted compared to those due to the burning of other buildings.”