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Mercury Legal is backing increasing calls from teachers who are claiming that parents should be questioning the levels of asbestos present in their children’s schools.

Warnings were issued by teaching staff across the country yesterday (6th April) after a report revealed that the substance is claiming the lives of more teachers in the UK than anywhere else in the world. Indeed, figures discussed by the National Union of Teachers’ (NUT) Harrogate conference show that 22 teachers are dying of mesothelioma every year – up from just three in 1980.

Further reports based on qualified estimates given to the Commons select committee on education also suggest that the illness is claiming the lives of nearly 300 former pupils every year. Now, the NUT is calling for a national audit of all UK schools to assess the risk of asbestos.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: “There has to be a proper audit to determine the scale of the problem.

“The dangers of asbestos in schools are obvious. What is needed to truly address the problem is a concerted effort on a national scale.

“Political parties must actively engage with a problem which is very far from being addressed and has taken many lives. Children, parents and staff deserve better.”

They say that 90% of schools currently contain asbestos but 44% of teachers hadn’t been told about it.
Gavin Moat, Industrial Disease Solicitor at Mercury Legal said: “Every day we see first-hand the devastating impact that asbestos exposure can have and at Mercury Legal we have long been campaigning for increased awareness of asbestos exposure across a number of different trades.

“The current rate of mesothelioma amongst teachers is far too high – in fact, these reports confirm that it is higher than any other part of the world. This is why we need to act now to ensure that both staff and pupils are protected.”

If you or your loved one has suffered as a result of asbestos exposure, we can help you. Our industrial disease team has extensive experience in processing claims of this nature and we fully understand that this will be an incredibly difficult time for you and your family.