Mesothelioma: We must protect our teachers from any hidden dangers

Mesothelioma dangers in the classroom

BEHIND every statistic we read about mesothelioma there lies a story – the story of another life lost from prolonged exposure to asbestos.

Sadly, over the years it’s a story that has become all too familiar. Despite being banned in the UK more than 20 years ago, asbestos is still all around us – in many old factories, office buildings and even in our schools.

Acorn Analytical Services has always taken its responsibility around raising awareness of the devastating effects of asbestos very seriously and last year, we launched a campaign aimed at highlighting the dangers of asbestos in our schools.

To mark World Teacher’s Day 2022, we’re returning to the classroom to find out just how much has changed.

Asbestos in our schools – the story so far

In the post war boom of the 1950s and 1960s, asbestos was an everyday product.

Cheap and fire retardant, it was used in a whole host of buildings at a time when new homes and infrastructure like factories and schools needed to be built quickly.

By the 1970s alarm bells had started ringing. It soon became clear that there was a direct link between the increase in the number of deaths from lung cancer and the use of asbestos. Even then, it would be another 20 years before the use of asbestos was banned in the UK.

According to Cancer Research UK, there are around 2,700 new cases of mesothelioma each year in the UK and 2,394 deaths. Many of these deaths can be linked back to exposure in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly among men who worked in the construction industry. The overwhelming majority of these deaths could have been prevented.

But it is the statistics around the deaths of teachers from mesothelioma which are particularly shocking. The UK has one of the highest death rates among teachers from mesothelioma in the world. In 2017 alone, 17 teachers died.

In 2021, working alongside people like Michael Lees, whose wife Gina, a primary school teacher, died from mesothelioma in 2000, we lobbied MPs to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos at the very highest level.

We targeted schools in Birmingham, encouraging headteachers there to take advantage of free asbestos audits and we worked with charities, including Mesothelioma UK to raise vital awareness.

What is the situation now?

It is our view that the problem of asbestos in schools has been overlooked for far too long.

A lack of funding in schools is only making the problem worse and potentially storing up even more problems for the future.

There is, however, a glimmer of hope.

Last month, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced that it would be conducting an inspection of primary and secondary schools to assess each school’s individual risk.

While this is, without doubt, an important step forward we believe much more needs to be done.

In our opinion, the only way to alleviate the risk completely is by ensuring any school built before 2000 is given a full asbestos audit and, where asbestos is found, a phased removal plan is put in place.

Our teachers, who work tirelessly to give our children the very best education possible deserve it. Our children deserve it. And we will not rest until the job is done.

Acorn is a professional asbestos consultancy helping organisations deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos air testing, and asbestos removal management. 

Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Ian Stone

I am based out of our Northampton office but regularly travel to meet with new and existing clients. I have assisted thousands of clients over the years on varying-sized projects, several have been schemes totalling over one million pounds spent purely on asbestos. Together with Neil Munro, I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I am Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

Our Movember heroes, Lewis, Dave and Dan

Meet Dave, Dan and Lewis – Acorn’s amazing Movember heroes

AS we start November, Acorn Analytical Services is very proud to be supporting Movember, the annual charity event which shines a spotlight on men’s health, in particular, mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. We pride ourselves on being at the heart of our community and we always try to give back … Read more

Asbestos management company is growing

Acorn Analytical Services: An ambitious asbestos management company which continues to grow

FROM small acorns strong businesses grow – something that everyone at Acorn Analytical Services is extremely proud of. Even in turbulent times, Acorn Analytical Services continues to lead the way, offering reliable asbestos management services to a wide range of businesses and organisations – from well-known high street brands to local schools and colleges. In … Read more

Asbestos training

Asbestos training: Acorn Analytical Services launches free session to build knowledge among architects

ASBESTOS has once again dominated the headlines this week reaffirming our worst fears that the UK is in the grip of an asbestos epidemic. Many older buildings, including factories, schools and hospitals, contain this dangerous material which over time is starting to degrade. It’s a ticking timebomb and, as one of the UK’s leading consultancies, … Read more

Mesothelioma dangers in the classroom

Mesothelioma: We must protect our teachers from any hidden dangers

BEHIND every statistic we read about mesothelioma there lies a story – the story of another life lost from prolonged exposure to asbestos. Sadly, over the years it’s a story that has become all too familiar. Despite being banned in the UK more than 20 years ago, asbestos is still all around us – in … Read more

Asbestos industry turbulence: Acorn remains strong

Asbestos industry turbulence: Acorn Analytical Services is strong, dynamic and well-placed to weather the storm

WHILE economic uncertainty may be starting to bite in the asbestos industry, Acorn Analytical Services continues to go from strength to strength offering essential support to clients right across the UK. With more than 20 years’ experience in the asbestos and health and safety industry, we’ve become a trusted partner to a growing number of … Read more

Mesothelioma day 2022

Mesothelioma Day: Shining a light on the work of Mesothelioma UK

TODAY, September 26, marks Mesothelioma Day in the US, an important day to raise awareness of the disease and of the dangers of asbestos worldwide. Even though asbestos was banned from new buildings in the UK more than 20 years ago, it is a problem we all still live with. Many buildings, including factories, schools … Read more

Behind the scenes of our laboratories

The science bit: Putting the important work of our laboratories under the microscope

AMONG the experts at Acorn Analytical Services is a dedicated team of laboratory analysts who work in our in-house laboratories in Northampton and Cleckheaton. Their work involves supporting our consultants, and our clients, by analysing samples of materials which are found on-site or sent to us to be investigated. Here we take a more detailed … Read more

Time to tackle asbestos in our schools

Taking action against asbestos – a hidden danger in our schools

AS children headed back into the classroom this week asbestos continues to be a problem in schools right across for the UK. Unbelievably, more than 80% of schools still contain the material, potentially putting children and teachers at risk of serious health problems in the years to come. As one of the country’s leading asbestos … Read more

Air testing is an important tool in the fight against asbestos

Air testing: Why nothing is more important than the air you breathe

AIR testing is an important way to protect yourself from the dangers of asbestos. Using state-of-the-art analytical equipment, Acorn Analytical Services can monitor the levels of asbestos fibres present in the air around you, making it even easier to make informed decisions when it comes to keeping yourself, and the people, around you safe. Here, … Read more

Asbestos training tutor, Daniel Crask

Asbestos training has never been more critical for your workforce

DESPITE being banned from new buildings in 1999, asbestos is still all around us which is why Acorn Analytical Services takes its commitment to education and asbestos training so seriously. By raising awareness of the potential dangers of asbestos through our UKATA-accredited asbestos awareness training courses, we aim to protect your workforce from the dangers … Read more