According to a report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Health and Safety, around 75% of schools in England contain the deadly Asbestos and worse most of it is badly maintained which increases the risk by magnitudes.
Sadly over 100 school teachers have died from Mesothelioma in the last ten years and it is estimated that 300 former pupils may die a year as well as an unknown number of staff who work at the school. Mesothelioma is incurable and is pretty much always fatal. Only a small amount of exposure is necessary to cause the disease and symptoms may not appear until 30+ years later. Almost all schools built in the period of time between the Second World War and 1975 contain Asbestos as well as those that were refurbished around that time. Worryingly it is estimated that a child of 5 is 5.3 times more likely to develop Mesothelioma by the age of 80 than their teacher aged 30.
The materials that are the largest cause of concern are things like pipe lagging, sprayed asbestos and insulating board which release the asbestos fibres with the slightest disturbance and may be in locations prone to damage by children.
If you work in a school (or anywhere else in England) and you are concerned that workers may be exposed to asbestos, Armco Asbestos Consultants can provide a survey to identify and advise on actions to be taken in the event of finding asbestos, as well as providing training courses (click here) to enable you to deal with asbestos yourselves.