With an estimated 2 million buildings across the country still rumoured to contain asbestos, experts have warned that this could lead to over 60,000 related deaths in children over the next 30 years. Unfortunately, as most – if not all – schools constructed between 1950 and 2000 have been built with materials containing asbestos, many children could still be facing this death penalty as a result.
Asbestos Causes 5000 Deaths Every Year
Two-and-a-half years ago, Oxford-educated Annabel Freyberg fell victim to the cancer type mesothelioma, a cancer type directly related to the asbestos fibres found in many buildings constructed pre-2000. She died aged 52 and while she lived a full life, the cancer that killed her was not genetic or of her own making.
Mesothelioma can take up to 40 years to develop, which means that many children today could be carriers and not even realise it until they are in their late 40s/early 50s. According to the campaign group ‘Asbestos in Schools’, over 40,000 people have already died from the disease in the UK and the number will only increase if nothing is done. Currently, there is no available cure or successful treatment for the mesothelioma cancer, although research continues into potential treatments. However as is the case with many diseases, prevention is more effective than any known treatment.
The Government’s Responsibility
Many parents and relatives of those who have died have signed campaigns, urging their government to make a change and to carry out a full audit. It is their hope that this audit will detail exactly where asbestos may be present in schools, so that parents, teachers and children can take the necessary steps to minimise their risks. Where asbestos is found, it should be removed immediately in an urgent, yet professional manner.
It is every school’s responsibility to take reasonable care for the safety and welfare of all students and teachers. In ignoring the potentially fatal long-term problems caused by the presence of asbestos in many of our schools, the government is failing in their duty.
Where there is a suspicion of asbestos present in a building, no matter how small, it is important that the relevant survey and investigation is carried out in order to prevent any illnesses or fatalities. If you suspect that your building or property may contain asbestos, do not delay. Get in touch with our experienced team today for advice and assistance.