Asbestos in Welsh Schools


Torfaen council in Wales has revealed that 32 out of its 39 of its school buildings contain the dangerous substance asbestos.

Asbestos Dust Hazard Warning Tape

The information comes after the council’s support of the Right to Know: Asbestos in Schools Wales campaign. Following the closure of Cwmcarn High School, the issue of asbestos in schools has become a hot topic.

Right to Know Campaign

Under proposals from the Right to Know campaign, parents across Wales will be able to access an online database and check whether asbestos is present in a school. The database will also give details of any plans has put in place to manage it.

The campaign was started because the asbestos rules put in place in England do not apply to Wales, putting children at risk of exposure.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that had been used in buildings between 1950 and 2000. It has since been banned from supply and use but if kept intact and in good condition it is safe and causes no harm. If poorly maintained, asbestos exposure can cause lung cancers, such as Mesothelioma or Asbestosis. Its affects are often not recognised until many years later.

The council have committed themselves to ensuring the safety of the pupils and teaching staff in Torfaen’s schools.

Managing Asbestos

Although long term exposure can cause a person to develop asbestos related diseases, it is rare in those working or studying in schools. Those most at risk are those who disturb the asbestos.

Schools built before 2000 have been subject to an Asbestos Management Survey detailing the location, type and condition of the materials containing asbestos. As a result, asbestos exposure can be avoided and the risk of developing an asbestos related disease, such as mesothelioma can be reduced.

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