Cardiff conference warns teachers of asbestos related illness

Dated:

An occupational health conference in Cardiff has warned teachers that they are 10 times more likely to suffer asbestos-related cancers.

Asbestos was used widely in the construction industry during the 1960s-1980s and up until 2000 is was often used in any building that was being built or refurbished.

The conference claimed that school staff in welsh schools could just be the tip of the "mesothelioma" iceberg as their studies did not include the effect on children.

Robin Howie, Occupational Hygienist stated: "I think the teaching statistics are the tip of the iceberg. For every teacher exposed then we have 20 to 30 children. I think there is a significant risk of mesothelioma in schools containing asbestos.

Teaching unions have demanded urgent action to tackle asbestos in Welsh schools.

The Health and Safety Executive have commented by saying that although up to 90,000 people were expected to die in the asbestos-related disease "epidemic" by 2050, teaching staff were not in the list of top 20 at-risk occupations, however there was a debate about the risk to schools.

Steve Coldrick, director of the HSE's disease reduction programme said: "This is an absolute horror story, there's no getting away from it."

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