For those of you following Spencers Solicitors, you'll be well aware of our campaign to improve government focus on asbestos in schools.
Today we've published a breakdown of the stats in a highly visual infographic, to help more people get to grips with just how threatening asbestos is to children and teachers in the UK.
As more people are alerted to the issue, MPs should come under further pressure to act urgently and execute a real plan to remove life-threatening asbestos from every British school.
Our Director John Spencer summarises the campaign as:
"We're not afraid to keep banging the drum on the issue of asbestos. It's an extremely serious matter which the government has failed to adequately address in the last 30 years - and it's getting worse. Today, asbestos takes the lives of 14 teachers a year, compared to three a year in the 1980s.
"As a nation of parents, educators and professionals, we can all work together to put a stop to it. Raising awareness is a duty we are more than prepared to take on and hopefully, this infographic will help us to do that."
We're halfway through International Asbestos Awareness week and so if there was ever a time for the government to demonstrate its intent to resolve the matter, it should be now.
How is asbestos a killer?
Asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a form of cancer that doesn't develop until 30 or 40 years following an individual's exposure to asbestos. According to Macmillan Cancer Support, over 2,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.
When asbestos is moved or broken, it can release microscopic fibres which are easily inhaled. Due to the size of such fibres, they can get into every area of the human lung. Naturally, the body will try to expel them but this only causes further irritation to the lung tissue.
As time goes by, this process can lead to the development of cancerous mesothelioma and eventually, death.
What can we do?
As John explains in a recent blog post;
"Asbestos in schools has for too long been ignored and deserves due recognition as the serious problem that it is. It cannot be right that teachers and our children are exposed to such unnecessary risks.”
In terms of ignorance, John is referring to the government's tendency to deflect the issue and focus on less expensive political concerns. Just last week, the BBC quoted a spokesperson for the Welsh government regarding the removal of asbestos in a Caerphilly school:
"Funding the removal of asbestos is a matter for the local authority, not the Welsh government."
This attitude needs to be changed. So here at Spencers we're encouraging everyone to share our asbestos in schools infographic and spread the word about the need to act on the issue of asbestos, so that it becomes impossible for the government to neglect the threat of asbestos any further.