SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

News Feed Item

Hidden Danger of Asbestos in Schools "Comes as no Surprise"

LONDON, November 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

A specialist industrial disease lawyer has said that the closure of a Welsh high school after ten times more than acceptable levels of asbestos were found comes as no surprise, adding that the hidden danger of asbestos in our schools has been known for years.

Bridget Collier, head of the Industrial Disease team at Fentons Personal Injury Solicitors LLP and a specialist in asbestos claims, said that the shock closure of the 900-strong Cwmcarn High School was potentially just the tip of the iceberg.

"The Cwmcarn case does not come as any great surprise, as we have known for years that asbestos was widely used in schools, typically for fireproofing and insulation," said Bridget. "But the dangerously high levels of asbestos found in that particular school have thrust it under the spotlight."

Reports over the last few weeks have detailed how workmen discovered airborne asbestos fibres that were ten times acceptable levels in the main block, leading to Cwmcarn High School being closed suddenly last month. Now a further specialist report has described the levels of asbestos in the school as posing 'potential serious risk to health', advising that it should be demolished.

"Since the closure we have received numerous calls from former pupils and staff at the school, as well as those from many others, who suspect they may have been exposed to asbestos," said Bridget. "It is believed that as many as 70% of schools built before 2000 will have asbestos in them, and that wherever maintenance, repair or new construction has taken place, there is potentially some risk that needs to be managed.

"In this case, the specialist asbestos management company's report suggests that ceiling tiles being disturbed by draughts, repairs to the electrical circuit and even pupils scraping chairs and tables in classrooms may have caused damage to asbestos boards," said Bridget. "It also said that asbestos in the roof void may have been blown around the building by the heating system."

Following the school's closure, pupils are now being educated at Coleg Gwent's Ebbw Vale campus 12 miles away, and will remain there for the rest of the school year.

"Whilst asbestos is a truly horrible material, and this latest incident has served to again highlight the danger of asbestos in schools, it should also be noted that asbestos that is still in good condition and unlikely to be damaged or disturbed does not pose any immediate significant health risks, as long as it is properly managed," said Bridget.

"Certainly most teachers and pupils are unlikely to be at risk in the course of their normal day-to-day activities," she said. "Whilst we are aware of some cases involving teachers who have developed asbestos-related illnesses after being exposed, those most at risk are tradespeople and contractors brought in to do maintenance or repair work who are more likely disturb asbestos-containing materials. We deal with a number of cases every year where workers - including builders, joiners, plumbers and electricians - have developed an asbestos-related disease because of the work they did in school buildings many years ago.

"It can take between 15 and 60 years after being exposed to asbestos before any related disease becomes apparent," said Bridget. "Many people who are diagnosed often came into contact with asbestos several years ago and didn't even realise. It is only when the symptoms begin to take hold that they recognise the devastating effect working with asbestos has had on them."

Bridget, who for many years has seen first-hand the impact asbestos-related illness has on its victims, said asbestos fibres are invisible to the naked eye. "When inhaled, these tiny indestructible fibres lodge inside the body and can remain latent without symptoms for many years before causing a number of cancers, including mesothelioma," she said.

Bridget said the most common places asbestos can be found in schools include the 'lagging' used as insulation on pipes and boilers; the sprayed-on asbestos used for insulation, fire protection and partitioning; insulation boards; some ceiling tiles; floor tiles; roofing and guttering; and textured coatings.

"There is a common misconception that asbestos is a thing of the past," added Bridget, "but asbestos was used in thousands of buildings throughout the twentieth century," she said. "Astonishingly, asbestos was still being used in some cement products up until as recently as 1999.

"The idea that the prevalence of asbestos in schools has suddenly been 'exposed' by the Cwmcarn issue is simply not correct," she said. "As the number of calls we receive from people who develop asbestos-related illnesses each year goes to attest, the unfortunate truth is that asbestos has been around for a long time and continues to claim far too many victims."

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including asbestos-related conditions.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.


More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...
SYS-CON Media announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Marketing, Application Performance Management and DevOps at CA Technologies, has joined DevOps Journal’s authors. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Aruna's inaugural article "Four Essential Cultural Hacks for DevOps Newbies" discusses how to demonstrate the...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
AppZero has announced that its award-winning application migration software is now fully qualified within the Microsoft Azure Certified program. AppZero has undergone extensive technical evaluation with Microsoft Corp., earning its designation as Microsoft Azure Certified. As a result of AppZero's work with Microsoft, customers are able to easily find, purchase and deploy AppZero from the Azure Marketplace. With just a few clicks, users have an Azure-based solution for moving applications to the...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AIC, a leading provider of OEM/ODM server and storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AIC is a leading provider of both standard OTS, off-the-shelf, and OEM/ODM server and storage solutions. With expert in-house design capabilities, validation, manufacturing and production, AIC's broad selection of products are highly flexible and are conf...
SYS-CON Events announced today Isomorphic Software, the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software ...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
The cloud is becoming the de-facto way for enterprises to leverage common infrastructure while innovating and one of the biggest obstacles facing public cloud computing is security. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jeff Aliber, a global marketing executive at Verizon, discussed how the best place for web security is in the cloud. Benefits include: Functions as the first layer of defense Easy operation –CNAME change Implement an integrated solution Best architecture for addressing network-l...
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.