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Extent of asbestos use in schools revealed

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The extent of the use of asbestos in school buildings prior to the substance being banned has been emphasised by figures from Shropshire showing that it is still present in 175 schools in the county.

While tradesmen and dockyard workers have long been viewed as the people most likely to suffer from asbestos-related cancers, the last few years have seen a growing number of teachers develop mesothelioma as a result of being exposed to fibres in the classroom.

A report in the Shropshire Star offers an indication of why teachers who worked in the days before asbestos management plans were so at risk.

It reveals that 391 public buildings managed by Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council are known to contain the substance, including 175 schools.

One school was found to have it in 270 samples taken during an asbestos survey, while another had it in 257.

With the substance used in building materials that ranged from insulating board and ceiling tiles to decorative coatings and fire doors, teachers were at risk of being exposed to asbestos fibres on an almost daily basis before the full dangers were widely known.

Fortunately, staff and pupils should now be safe in older buildings in which asbestos containing materials are present, providing appropriate surveys are completed, remedial work undertaken and a comprehensive management plan implemented.

The safest option of all is to remove asbestos from the premises when the opportunity arises, such as when refurbishment work is due to be carried out, or if the condition of the substance shows any sign of deterioration.

BLS Asbestos are licensed asbestos removal contractors with extensive experience of working in schools, hospitals and other busy public buildings.

For advice about managing asbestos risks in schools and information about our asbestos removal and disposal service, please call us on 01484 400558 or contact us via the website.

Published: 8th September 2015