UK schools plagued by asbestos safety concerns, report says

27 Feb 2017 by under News

asbestos warning 100x100 UK schools plagued by asbestos safety concerns, report saysThe United Kingdom’s schools are facing a serious health crisis after a government report has found thousands of schools are failing to follow safety guidelines.

One-fifth of schools that responded to the government survey were found to be “not fully compliant” with procedures, according to The Telegraph, and of that fifth, 100 were deemed “a significant cause for concern” and required intervention. The Department for Education said it emailed schools and determined the asbestos issues are now safe.

Asbestos, a group of silicate fibers known to be a human carcinogen, is linked to the development of , a deadly cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen. Patients with mesothelioma rarely live longer than two years after diagnosis and the cancer’s long latency period and symptoms that overlap with other health issues make it difficult to diagnose. Because just one exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, not properly following safety protocol can have detrimental effects on the health of schoolchildren and teachers.

According to the National Union of Teachers, 319 teachers have died from mesothelioma since 1980, The Telegraph reports. “It is estimated that for every teacher’s death, nine children will die, meaning over 100 people will die every year in the UK as a result of exposure when they were at school,” the news source states.

Of those schools that received the survey, only a quarter of schools responded. “It is reasonable to assume that schools who know they are not compliant would be less likely to respond, therefore the true number who are failing to comply could be substantially higher, with hundreds of schools putting pupils and teachers at risk by failing to manage asbestos effectively,” said Chris Keates, general secretary of the teaching union NASUWT.

The UK’s Department for Education is planning to invest £23 billion in school buildings by 2021.


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