Just as is true in the United States, an alarming number of the United Kingdom’s school teachers succumb to malignant mesothelioma every year. A committee of the members of parliament believes that more needs to be done about asbestos in school buildings and other workplace environments. The group plans an investigation.
Working to Stop Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos-Related Deaths Among Teachers and Students
According to research conducted by the group Airtight on Asbestos, primary school teachers in the United Kingdom die of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases five times more frequently than their peers. The group’s founder, Charles Pickles, says that between 2001 and 2016 there were 305 reported asbestos-related deaths among teachers.
It is believed that the more than six million tons of asbestos used in the UK’s public buildings is behind the high rate of malignant mesothelioma among teachers. The toxic material was used in rebuilding schools and hospitals after World War II, and both educators and school children face dangerous exposure. “We have one of the worst asbestos legacies in the world,” Pickles said, “and even today exposure to the substance cuts short the lives of 2 to 300 school children each year. Despite this, the government is in denial. Other countries have far better procedures for measuring and managing the handling of asbestos in public buildings. It is time the UK caught up.”
Asbestos Safety Inquiry Launches in UK
Mr. Pickles will testify to Parliament that the UK’s asbestos safety policy is inadequate and leaves too many people vulnerable to asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma. He says that the current system, which assigns duty holders to public buildings, falls short because those administrators are not well versed in the dangers of asbestos or what should be done when it is found. “Some duty holders are either unaware of their responsibilities or unable to fulfil them. As a result, there is a lack of awareness about the presence and location of asbestos in public buildings,” he explains. “The issue is particularly bad in schools, where the knowledge and awareness of duty holders varies between schools that are privately owned, state funded, academy or local authority controlled,” he added.
The investigation will prepare recommendations, which will likely include better training and detection efforts on the part of the government. Speaking of the need for improvement,
Philip Blond, of the think tank ResPublica, said, “Allowing toxic materials to sit in the walls of public buildings as they decay and grow increasingly dangerous is a tragic indictment of the current system of containment and control. The shocking death rate amongst teachers and nurses underlines the need to act fast.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.