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Do more to remove asbestos from schools

There's growing pressure on the Government and local authorities to do more to remove asbestos from schools.

It's thought asbestos is present in virtually all schools built between 1950 and 2000 - and according to the campaign group 'I Asbestos in Schools', 40,000 people have died as a result of exposure to it during almost seven decades.

Even low levels of exposure to asbestos fibres can cause both lung cancer, as well as cancer of the lining of the lung called mesothelioma.

According to figures from the Department of Education, thousands of schools across the country are failing to follow safety guidelines on asbestos.

A survey of more than 5,500 schools in 2016 found:

  • More than four out of every five had asbestos.
  • 19 % were not fully compliant with asbestos procedures
  • Of these, 114 were said to give "significant cause for concern".


The Health and Safety Executive's view is that if asbestos is in a good, sealed condition it isn't a risk if left undisturbed. But that's not good enough for teaching unions, with the joint union asbestos committee saying the Government should commit to removing all asbestos in schools by 2028.

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