A Diary Of A Mesowarrior Living With #Mesothelioma – Can we do more to take #Asbestos out of our Schools

I was researching about Asbestos in Schools and was reading the rules. I do hope School teachers and Head teachers are reading the info and keep up to date. Its their lives that are at risk as well as our children and grand children. It is all great rules and regulations for the management of Asbestos, but the thought that our children hit walls in a gym, with balls and kick and bang doors, it is frightening to know they are surrounded by Asbestos.
More than 220 school teachers have died from mesothelioma (a cancer that is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos) in the past ten years With 86 per cent of UK schools containing asbestos, experts fear that hundreds of staff and former students could be dying from mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos fibres while at school.. An unknown number of cleaners, administrative staff, caretakers, cooks and dinner ladies have also died. The number of children who have been killed by exposure to asbestos at school is unknown, but in the US it was estimated that for every one teacher who dies, nine former pupils will die in adulthood from their exposure as a child., In the UK that would mean that more than 100 people are dying every year as a result of asbestos exposure when they were at school.

Primary school teacher Sue Stephens passed away on June 26. She had long believed that she contracted the cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos during her 30-year career in education.

The petition has been launched by Mrs Stephens’ daughter Lucie and is calling for the complete removal of asbestos from schools by 2028. It was launched last week – coinciding with the annual Action Mesothelioma Day on July 1 – and has already amassed more than 6,069 signatures.

Current government policy is for asbestos to be regularly inspected and managed in situ rather than being removed. However, campaigners on the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) say that much asbestos in schools is now old and deteriorating, increasing the risk that staff and pupils will be exposed to fibres or dust from damaged asbestos-containing materials, which when inhaled can cause mesothelioma.

More than 220 teachers in England died of mesothelioma between 2003 and 2012. This includes 17 in 2013 and 22 in 2012 these figures are rising.

Figures for school support staff are harder to establish. A key problem is that the long latency period before mesothelioma develops means that it is often difficult to pinpoint exactly when sufferers were exposed.

However, in 2013, the Education Select Committee heard evidence estimating that between 40 and 60 people a year could be dying as a result of asbestos exposure in schools. It is difficult to know how many children might have been affected, but studies in the US have estimated that for every one teacher who dies from mesothelioma, nine former pupils will die in adulthood from their exposure as a child.

The petition’s call for asbestos removal echoes recommendations made by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health in 2012, which found that much asbestos in schools is badly maintained. The petition is also calling for a duty to be placed on schools to produce an annual asbestos report for parents and staff. This policy is already in place in America.

The petition states: “The government must introduce and implement a policy for the phased removal of all asbestos from schools to be completed by 2028, starting with the most dangerous asbestos. MPs recommended this in 2012 but no action has been taken.

“Parents have been kept in the dark about asbestos risks for too long. We want every school in the UK to have to produce an annual report about the type and condition of any asbestos on the premises and share this with all parents and staff. Every child’s potential exposure to asbestos at school must be recorded and shared with parents.”

Please sign the Petition https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-our-children-and-teachers-from-asbestos-exposure-in-schools


Have we moved on from BBC’s Inside Out 2012

The Asbestos report for schools says :-

Main points
Your school buildings may contain asbestos if any part of them was built before 2000. It
is extremely important that any asbestos present in your school is managed properly. If
you do not follow the steps set out in this advice, you may put the future health of your
staff and pupils at risk.
You could also face prosecution, by failing to comply with
the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012
.Also more advice.
You should take the following steps to manage the asbestos in your school:
1. Have a ‘management survey’ of asbestos-containing materials
(ACMs)in your school
2. Assess the risks associated with ACM
s in your school
3. Devise a plan for managing asbestos in your school
4. Make sure staff and visitors know the risks and precautions they need to take
5. Keep the management of
asbestos in your school under review
If you need to undertake any refurbishment work in a building that contains asbestos you
may need to commission a ‘refurbishment and demolition survey’ which will give you a
more detailed understanding of the asbestos present in the building.
If there is an incident of asbestos exposure at your school you should take the necessary
steps to ensure that everyone is safe and, unless the incident is very minor, you will need
to report it
to the Health and Safety Executive.
In summary, the CoC concluded:
Asbestos causes mesothelioma and other cancers;
The range of asbestos fibres in air will vary depending on the
environment, presence and condition of asbestos;
There is a lack of contemporary data on the levels of asbestos
found in schools and there would be benefit in collecting and
analysing new exposure data;
There is potential for children to be exposed to asbestos in their
homes where asbestos was used in its construction or
maintenance. Maintenance activity can disturb asbestos and
increase exposure both
at home and at school;
There is evidence that exposure to asbestos in childhood can cause
mesothelioma in later life. The effect of increased life expectancy
and the long latency period is recognised with the lifetime risk of
developing mesothelioma predicted  to be about 3.5 times greater
for a child first exposed at age 5 compared to an adult first exposed
at age 25 and about 5 times greater when compared to an adult first
exposed at age 30.
Day-to-day management of asbestos in your school
Step 1: Conduct a management survey of asbestos
containing materials in your school
You will need to carry out an asbestos ‘management
survey’ to identify those ACMs in your school which may be disturbed in the course of routine maintenance or everyday activities.
You need to do this for all buildings constructed before 2000, including new
buildings with residual elements of pre-2000 buildings
. This survey must be comprehensive and systematic, establishing
the location, type and condition of ACMs.
The aim of the survey is to produce an asbestos register, which records
the location and condition of the asbestos in your building. It should be
conducted in accordance with HSE guidance and undertaken by a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited surveying organisation.
The survey will look in all accessible places including above the ceilings and in floor
ducting. This may require some minor intrusion into the fabric of the building and the
taking of samples to identify if materials contain asbestos.
However, to avoid the spread
of any asbestos fibres, disturbance should be kept to the minimum level necessary to
undertake the survey.
This means your management survey will only tell you about ACMs that are easily accessible.
It is only suitable for managing asbestos during the
normal occupation and use of your school.
If you undertake any building works in your school, you may
need a ‘refurbishment and demolition’ survey of the areas where the
work is to take place in order to identify the presence of less easily accessible asbestos
(see pages11-12)
Schools may find it helpful to arrange for the surveyor to meet with school staff, for
example the headteacher, to brief them on the survey once it is completed and advise
them on the risks presented by the materials and how they should be managed.
You can have these meetings included within the surveyor’s terms of appointment

One thought on “A Diary Of A Mesowarrior Living With #Mesothelioma – Can we do more to take #Asbestos out of our Schools

  1. Hi Mavis, this is very interesting indeed, It is fascinating that this is such a hidden peril and we don’t talk about the outrage. I am also keen to understand why the JUAC recommends removal rather than more regular inspection. There are so many risks in relation to removal and it would be extremely costly.

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