Asbestos in schools ‘scandal’ , 75% contain the hidden killer

As reported by the independent quoting a report by a safety group. Asbestos in schools is a ‘scandal’ that puts the lives of pupils and teachers at risk, Asbestos containing material was widely used in the construction of buildings until 1999, when it was declared too dangerous.

According to Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) asbestos is present in 75 per cent of schools, and it is unknown how much asbestos exposure it takes before a person is at risk of being ill.

The diseases caused by asbestos exposure do not affect a person immediately, and it could be between 15 and 60 years before they are affected making it difficult to know how much damage asbestos in a school is doing at any given time.

JUAC has issued a warning that “there is urgent need for action” against asbestos in schools, which they say has killed 406 teachers since 1980.

According to the report an estimated 300 people per year could die from asbestos exposure as a result of attending school during the 60s and 70s.

Staff including cleaners, support staff and caretakers are also at risk. The current UK government policy is that asbestos may be left alone, as long as it is in good condition and is not likely to be disturbed (e.g. by further construction work).

Some schools have asbestos management systems, but many do not.

“These are not minor problems that have crept in over recent years,” a report by the Asbestos Consultants Association, quoted by JUAC, says. “They are fundamental problems that are endemic in schools in the UK.”