Cancer sufferer calls for asbestos to be removed from schools

Last Updated on 12th April 2022 by Dan

A woman who has been diagnosed with cancer (Peritoneal Mesothelioma to be exact) caused by exposure to asbestos which occurred when she was in high school, calls for asbestos, a killer over over 4500 people a year to be removed from the worrying amount of schools all around the UK that contain the deadly substance.

Sarah Bowman, age 46 was diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma in August 2009 and told by doctors she had a year to live. Mesothelioma normally occurs in the lining surrounding the lungs which is called the Pleura, but in rare cases it can also occur in the protective membranes surrounding the heart and the abdominal cavity (in Sarah’s case). Mesothelioma is only known to be caused by asbestos fibres and is incredibly difficult to treat as well as being pretty much always malignant. However as a bit of good news at the time of writing, her cancer is currently in remission.

Sarah’s exposure to asbestos occurred when she attended William Gladstone High School during the years 1979-1984, and she recalls workers sending Asbestos dust down onto pupil’s uniforms as they performed electrical maintenance in the corridors.

Originally Sarah was given a year to live when diagnosed by doctorsin August 2009 but she is still very much alive today and her cancer is in remission but says “I am petrified that one day the cancer will return” and is now calling for identification and removal of asbestos throughout all schools in the UK.

Brent council has recently agreed to a substantial settlement to cover her suffering (she also suffered from depression due to her situation) and financial loss, acknowledging the constant worrying that her illness may return.

It is believed that around 300 former pupils die each year due to asbestos exposure when they were at school during the 60’s and 70’s and there are uncounted more who have complications that were not fatal, and undoubtedly more who are not yet experiencing symptoms which can take up to 50 years to manifest.

A recent parliamentary report suggests that 75% of schools in England and Wales house Asbestos containing materials. It is worrying to think that younger generations may be exposed to this class one carcinogen in a place where we would like to consider them safe, the calls to have the Asbestos identified and removed do not seem to be to be too tall an order to 300 lives a year… does it?

Armco Asbestos carries out surveys for the identification of asbestos, and has done so for many schools and businesses in the past. We also provide Asbestos Awareness Training (which is now a legal requirement if you are likely to be exposed to Asbestos in general work) and provide training to enable you to legally remove asbestos without causing harm to yourself and those around you, if you are looking to book an asbestos survey click here, for Training click here and for Face Fit Testing click here.


Published Sep 22, 2014

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