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Risk assessment for asbestos in schools needed, say campaigners

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Summary of story from the Morning Star, July 1, 2011

In the past 30 years, almost 230 teachers in the UK have died of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer usually caused by exposure to asbestos, according to Joint Union Asbestos Campaign chairwoman Julie Winn.

“More than 60 per cent of those deaths have occurred in the last decade.”

“It’s an alarming upward trend and for every affected teacher there’s a classroom full of children and school support staff who have been exposed to the same danger.”

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Despite the warnings and the heavy death toll, less is going to be done to protect school workers and children from the threat of asbestos.”

He called on the government to introduce legislation to ensure local authorities assess the risk of asbestos in their schools.

Former teacher Carole Hagedon was diagnosed with mesothelioma after a 35-year career in teaching.

“It is shameful that some schools are still failing to protect the children and staff in them. We must campaign for proper controls,” she said.

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