(PRWEB UK) 19 March 2013
Claims have been made that up to 75% of schools across the UK still contain asbestos materials, even though the materials usage was banned over a decade ago. The figure is alarmingly high, with estimates reaching 90% in parts of Manchester and Wales according to a report on ITV last week.
Asbestos Advice Helpline has seen a rise in the occurrence of asbestos related diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma amongst people who have worked in schools, including teachers and janitors. This is a serious concern which has been mostly ignored in the past as most people who think of asbestos relate the danger to more manual or construction based jobs.
One of the biggest groups in the campaign is Asbestos in Schools Group who have one of the most relevant and accurate resources regarding asbestos in schools in the UK. One of the founding members of this group, Michael Lees, participated in a committee meeting last week. This committee was designed to raise the awareness of the problem and instigate a plan of action which can hopefully solve the problem of asbestos in schools and other public buildings in the future. Other members of the committee included Education Secretary Michael Gove, Schools Minister David Laws and David Ashton, director of field operations for the Health and Safety Executive.
Representatives from the Joint Union Asbestos Committee were also in attendance at the committee. They called for immediate warnings to all schools which use warm air cabinet heating systems which contain asbestos and called for an urgent audit looking into the condition and extent of all UK schools and colleges.
The call for phased removal of asbestos from schools and colleges is increasing from a variety of sources including unions, health professionals, school governing bodies and the general public. The problem is clear and apparent with the number of deaths amongst school teachers attributed to mesothelioma standing at 126 according to the Office of National Statistics.
A spokesperson from Asbestos Advice Helpline said “Over recent years we have seen an increase in sufferers of mesothelioma and asbestosis coming from teaching backgrounds, or suffering from exposure caused in schools and colleges."
“It is not often thought that people who work in schools and colleges suffer from asbestos related diseases, but asbestos products are very prevalent in these buildings, which is a danger to those working there and the children who attend classes."
“Hopefully with increased awareness and pressure from action groups such as the Asbestos in Schools Group, work will start to remove the threat from our schools and other public buildings which contain the dangerous material.”
If you are a sufferer of an asbestos related illness you can find out if you are eligible to claim compensation by visiting http://www.asbestosadvicehelpline.com.