Recent studies showed that more than seven million children in the UK are studying in schools with asbestos present in the structure, of which 1.2m are in London. These numbers were obtained from a Freedom of Information request and are particularly alarming.
“Many people still think that asbestos is only a threat to factory or trade workers and this simply isn’t the case. The deadly material has been used in all types of buildings since the 1950s and is still present in the majority of schools in the UK due to ageing stock,” said Kate Sweeney from leading law firm Stephensons.
The most intriguing aspect is that schools have no obligation to notify the parents in relation to asbestos on the premises. “These figures are very concerning and the fact that parents have no right to be notified, even more so. Asbestos can be easily disturbed with a simple pinprick of the wall when hanging up children’s artwork and have a long term effect on the health of anyone exposed,” continued Sweeney.
Experts warn that children at the age of five are more than three times more likely to develop mesothelioma than 25+ years old adults.
Michael Lees, 67, founder of the campaigning group Asbestos In Schools, thinks that the governments are brushing this issue under the carpet because it takes up to 30 years for the effects to show.