75% of schools 'have asbestos'

An education committee hearing will look at the issue of asbestos in schools for the first time today. It is claimed that 75% of all schools in the UK have asbestos, rising to 90% in parts of Manchester and Wales.

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Campaign group: Industrial disease could kill children

Michael Lees from the campaign group Asbestos in Schools, will be amongst those attending a committee meeting today, to discuss the issue of asbestos.

Michael's wife Gina was a school teacher, who died from mesothelioma, the form of cancer developed from exposure to asbestos.

Speaking to Daybreak he said: "You are aware that asbestos exists, but you are certainly not aware of the dangers, and the fact that just the simple act of going to school, you can die of an industrial disease."

Asbestos campaigners call for national school strategy

The Joint Union Asbestos Committee will attend an education committee hearing today to discuss what can be done about the amount of asbestos in schools.

The campaigners are calling for:

  • An immediate warning to all schools about warm air cabinet heating systems, which contain asbestos
  • An immediate audit of the condition and extent of asbestos in all UK schools and colleges
  • A trial for wide spread air sampling to assess the risk
  • A national strategic asbestos plan to include mandatory training for all staff and adequate resources
  • The reintroduction of pro-active HSE inspections to determine the standards of asbestos management in all schools
  • A long term phased removal of asbestos in all UK schools and colleges (priority to schools with asbestos in most dangerous condition)

Education Secretary Michael Gove and schools minister David Laws are due to attend this morning's committee meeting.

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Education minister to discuss asbestos in schools

An education committee hearing will look at the issue of asbestos in schools for the first time today.

Seventy five per cent of all schools in the UK have asbestos, rising to 90 per cent in parts of Manchester and Wales.

Britain has the highest number of teachers dying from asbestos-related cancer in the world Credit: Stephen Pond/PA Archive

Currently Britain has no national plan in place for dealing with asbestos, despite having the highest number of teachers dying from asbestos-related cancer, in the world.

With an average of a 30 year incubation period, it is thought that only now we will begin to see the contamination problems from the 1980s.

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