Clearing the air: asbestos in schools and hospitals

Mesothelioma UK has launched a report on the costs and benefits of removing asbestos from UK schools and hospitals called Clearing the Air.  The report  looks at asbestos-related diseases caused by  exposure to asbestos for teachers, doctors, nurses and other employees who work in those buildings but never worked directly with asbestos.

Health & safety regulations for asbestos allow it to be left in buildings if it is in good condition and unlikely to be disturbed.  The report maintains that this policy of waiting for asbestos-containing materials to deteriorate before removing them is not sustainable or beneficial in the long term.  Death rates from asbestos-related diseases in female teachers and nurses are rising and are significantly higher than in the general population.   Research has found that asbestos is present in 80% of schools and 94% of hospital trusts in England.  Asbestos exposure is still the UK’s single greatest cause of work-related deaths.

The report can be accessed here.  The research was funded by industry bodies, unions and campaigners.