It was reported on the BBC today that 86% of schools in England and Wales have asbestos within them. Successive Governments have adopted a watch and see approach to asbestos in schools simply monitoring its presence and ensuring that it is not in a dangerous condition.
However, the dangers from asbestos are well documented and there is no known safe level of exposure. The BBC report highlighted the plight of one victim of mesothelioma who contracted the disease from his days at school in Devon. The gentleman is only 37 years of age. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31793017
We are currently representing a teacher from the South East of England who was exposed whilst working in schools. Everybody expects there to be some wear and tear in schools as part and parcel of the challenges of teaching and educating children. However what is unacceptable is that the very fabric of schools themselves pose a risk to the health of pupils and teachers alike. Mesothelioma doesn’t differentiate between adults and children and it can take up to 40 years for this terrible disease to manifest itself.
Whilst Parliament debates moving to more suitable premises and we continue to live in an age of austerity, surely some money can be found to reduce the amount of asbestos in our schools and drastically reduce the risk posed to our children and teachers.
Further information on asbestos in schools can be found at http://www.asbestosexposureschools.co.uk.