TILBURY families are fearful of a dust which has been plaguing their neighbourhood for some time now.

Tests by the environment agency revealed the substance to be iron oxide, and councillor Aaron Watkins, cabinet member for environment, has been keen to stress this “does not pose a direct risk to health”.

But that assurance has proven not to be enough for residents in the town.

They want hard evidence their health is not at risk, and have now gathered and lodged a petition with the council, signed by hundreds of residents, demanding further investigation into what exactly, if any, dangers are posed by the dust.

The Gazette has pressed for answers too and is keen to see evidence that this substance isn’t presenting any risk to public health. So far we haven’t received any official responses.

Meanwhile, more and more residents have been getting in touch telling us how concerned they are about it.

One claims to clean their car and within just half-an-hour it’s coated again with the substance.

On the face of it one would assume breathing this in is not going to be good for you.

It’s also not clear where it’s coming from.

A probe has revealed European Metal Recycling, based at the Port of Tilbury, could be the source, but firm bosses have flatly denied this, saying they are more than happy to work with the council and other agencies to prove it.

This offer needs to be taken up. And evidence confirming this dust isn’t dangerous made public as soon as possible.