Asbestos Report Warns of Mesothelioma Risk for British Children

Throughout the United States, parents have voiced concern that asbestos contamination in schools might be putting their children at risk for malignant mesothelioma. Multiple schools in Philadelphia have been closed after asbestos discoveries, and a Philadelphia schoolteacher made national news when she revealed her mesothelioma diagnosis. Yet the fears voiced in this country pale in comparison to the situation in Great Britain, where a think tank recently reported that United Kingdom schoolchildren are inhaling higher levels of airborne asbestos than is true in other European countries.

ResPublica Calls for Improved UK Asbestos Standards

The think tank behind the report is Res Publica, and they are pointing to inadequate asbestos regulation as causing a significant mesothelioma risk for children in the United Kingdom. According to their research, current regulations permit children in Britain to be exposed to ten times higher levels of the carcinogen than is true in Germany. The group is making a plea for improved standards throughout the country, and specifically points to asbestos benchmarks in nearby European countries as a suitable guide.

Until it was determined to cause malignant mesothelioma, asbestos was widely used in construction. Upon learning that it was a carcinogen, its use was curtailed and asbestos that had long been in place began to be removed. Unfortunately, the United Kingdom was not as proactive in its removal as has been true in other countries, and ResPublica reports there are still approximately 6,000 tons of it spread across 1,500 UK buildings, including 80% of schools.

Report Spurs Concerns Over Mesothelioma Risk From High Levels of Airborne Asbestos 

According to the ResPublica report, British schoolchildren are regularly subjected to high levels of airborne asbestos, and that poses a significant risk of malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. The group also said that the United Kingdom uses outdated, highly inaccurate technology to measure those fibers.

The report states, “A child inhales between five and 10 cubic metres of air per day, meaning the permitted levels of airborne asbestos in the UK can expose a child to 100,000 fibres per day, compared with 10,000 fibres in Germany.”  It cites 2,523 annual mesothelioma deaths in the United Kingdom, a number that is roughly equivalent to that of the United States, which has five times the population. Teachers represent a significant percentage of those UK deaths. 

Mesothelioma is a worldwide problem. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease and you need information, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608. 

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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