A survey taken online by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has shown that nearly 50% of all respondents had not been told whether their school contained asbestos, despite it being known that the deadly substance is present in 86% of schools.
Asbestos, a deadly substance used in building materials and construction for decades before it was banned in the UK, is known to cause several illnesses, such as mesothelioma – a cancer of the lining of the lungs linked exclusively to asbestos exposure – pleural thickening and asbestosis.
Of the 46% told that their school contained asbestos, half did not know where it was located, leaving them unable to take the correct steps to avoid disturbing it.
It was found earlier this year that staff and pupils across the country have been exposed to asbestos more than 90 times in the past 5 years – as recorded by local councils.
More than £10 million in compensation has been paid out over the same time frame to teachers and pupils who have suffered with illness due to asbestos exposure. Almost 250 staff and former pupils have made claims with just under half of their cases winning. All had developed mesothelioma as a result of their exposure.