Deaths of teachers

Exposure to asbestos has resulted in the deaths of teachers in their hundreds over the last 25 years, new figures reveal.

Lung cancer mesothelioma – caused by inhaling fibres from asbestos – has claimed 292 lives since 2005, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

This has led to the leader of a teachers’ union calling for it to be removed from all the UK’s 32,770 schools.

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The problem of asbestos in education buildings must not be forgotten.

“On average, a teacher has died of asbestos-related disease every fortnight over the past 15 years.

This death toll will continue until the ­Government develops a planned and costed programme for its removal from ­educational buildings.”

Among the teachers to have die was art teacher Elizabeth Belt, who passed away in 2015 aged 68. She had spent decades pinning pupils’ art to asbestos notice boards in Lincolnshire schools.

Since 2015, the Government has allocated £7.4billion for essential maintenance in schools, including asbestos removal. And there are around 32,770 schools in the UK, which means each school has had £45,163.36 a year to spend in the past five years. But larger schools say this is not enough to cover costs.

Eton Environmental Group has been involved in carrying out asbestos surveys in schools for many years, as well as managing removal of asbestos when necessary.

Any schools/local authorities wishing to find out more about our asbestos services can email us or call 01325 366866.

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