WESTBURY company Lafarge Cement Works plans to recall some 2,500 tonnes of cement over fears it contains high levels of a substance that can cause skin inflammation.

Lafarge’s Blue Circle cement may contain high levels of chromium VI, which has been linked with dermatitis.

When wet the affected product can cause an allergic reaction if it comes into prolonged contact with unprotected skin.

Lafarge has contacted builders’ merchants and DIY stores, to ask them to remove stock supplied before Thursday, December 4.

So far 1,500 tonnes has been recalled and Lafarge estimates that another 1,000 tonnes will follow.

The level of chromium XI in the cement is claimed by Lafarge to have no impact on the environment or on the performance of its product.

The Environment Agency, Trading Standards and the Health and Safety Executive have been informed.

Lafarge managing director Erdogan Pekenc said: “We have taken this precautionary measure to be proactive and transparent with our customers, and to ensure that the products we supply are of the highest quality.

"We fully stand behind the performance of all products manufactured at Westbury.”

West Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison said: “This is an integrity issue and I think it was the right course of action to take.”

Chromium XI was the subject of the 2000 film “Erin Brockovich”, which is based on a true story.

In the film, Julia Roberts, playing the title character, helps construct a lawsuit against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company for contaminating drinking water with the product.

In 2005, limits for chromium XI in cement were added to the cement health and safety guidelines or the first time. Prior to this there were no limits.

A Lafarge spokesman said today that research carried out by the company has suggested levels of chromium are currently lower than in 2005.

Customers who are concerned can contact Lafarge on 0845 470 0100.

Unopened bags of the cement can be exchanged, but opened bags cannot.