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The BBC have released figures stating that asbestos is still present in 86% or 9 out of ten schools in the UK, which is higher than what was previously reported. Asbestos was used heavily in the building industry in the 1960’s and 1970’s before it was banned in 1999.
JUAC the Joint Union Asbestos Committee is a union aiming to make all schools and colleges in the UK safe from the dangers of asbestos, protecting workers, staff and pupils. In the last 10 years 158 teachers have dies from asbestos related diseases such as Mesothelioma. They are amongst the unions, charities and victims waiting for government action on asbestos in schools. https://juac.org.uk/
Government representatives state that removing asbestos from schools could take decades and cost billions of pounds thus the current government position being to manage the asbestos in schools rather than remove it. The government announced in 2013 that they would review the management of asbestos in schools which took place between January and March 2014 with the report expected in June 2014, the report however, has still not been published.
Chris Wallace aged 37 has been diagnosed and is living with Mesothelioma and tumours on his stomach which he believes to have been contracted whilst he was a pupil at school in Devon. Mr Wallace stated that there were holes in the walls of the pre fabricated steel structure school building, as well as asbestos dust on the tables which was just wiped off. Mr Wallace reached an out of court settlement with Devon County Council who take no responsibility and are not taking any liability for his asbestos exposure or disease. Mesothelioma has a long incubation period, meaning the time of exposure which was likely to be at school level was not diagnosed until around 25 years down the line which is common of the disease.
Two women from Barnsley have recently passed away due to the asbestos related disease asbestosis, a chronic lung condition caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. Both women spent their lives working in schools where it is suggested the contracted the asbestos related disease though exposure to asbestos used in the construction of the school buildings.
Mrs Weston, was a teacher for over 40 years, her only job, leaving only to retire was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. Another school worker, Mrs Armitage worked in the school kitchen for over 10 years also died due to the asbestos related disease. The post mortem found that the time both ladies had contracted Mesothelioma was suspected to be during their time working in the schools.
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Published Mar 12, 2015