Asbestos News February 2017
The number of schools in the Bristol region with asbestos still in their buildings has been revealed.
At least 200 schools in the Bristol region – Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset council areas – still have some form of asbestos in them, a series of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests have found.
North Somerset Council has settled four claims in the last decade, paying out nearly £450,000 in the process.
Asbestos was widely used for building until 1999. It acts as an insulator and protects against corrosion.
However, it can become a risk to health if the fibres become airborne - something that occurs when the asbestos is broken during construction work.
The condition, mesothelioma, can take decades to develop and is potentially fatal.
The information was requested by campaigner Lucie Stephens, whose mother Sue died from mesothelioma in June last year. Sue had been a teacher.
There are concerns because of the increased construction work taking place in expanding schools to accommodate more pupils.
The data provided by the council only includes schools under the local authority's remit, which means no secondary school – aided or academy – is included within its list.
Some 106 primary schools and nurseries were listed to have asbestos in their buildings, according to the latest inspection in February 2012.
Each school is reinspected on a four-year cycle by an external consultant, the council said, and the only incidents of exposure in the last five years were during removal works.
The area contaminated was an empty classroom below the roof that was being cleared of asbestos, and the works were restricted to out of hours, it added.
There have been no claims against the council as yet in the last five years.
Full table below
Some 66 schools are on the council's list where there is either confirmed or presumed asbestos.
There are 90 schools under the council's remit.
In most cases, the asbestos in within materials such as vinyl floor tiles, which the council says is "encapsulated" to prevent exposure.
Each school's management plan is subject to an annual review by management, and there has been no prohibition or improvement notices.
It has, however, received one claim related to asbestos over the last five years. The claim is still outstanding and the council denies liability for it.
Full table below
The council said some 45 schools, mostly primary schools, still have asbestos in them.
An annual asbestos management survey is carried out every year, and the management plans are the responsibility of individual schools.
The council said there have been no reported incidents of asbestos incidents to children or staff.
But there have been four successful claims made against the council in the last 10 years by staff past and present, and ex-pupils.
The council has paid out some £445,000 in that period.
Full table below
John McClean, the secretariat of the Asbestos in Schools group said: "What this information reveals is that the Government's policy of managing asbestos in schools is simply not working and is putting children and staff at risk."
Paul Jacobs, service director for education and skills at Bristol City Council, said: "As part of their health and safety responsibilities, schools are required to undertake visual inspections of their buildings on a six monthly basis.
"If there are any visible changes, they have a duty to contact the council and we then act to ensure there is no risk. To support this process, we also use external consultants to inspect schools on a four yearly basis. The next round of external inspections is currently being arranged. Where schools have major building works planned, inspections will tie in with these."
North Somerset Council said the four claims were historic cases and the exposures had taken place between 1961 and 1992.
A spokesman for South Gloucestershire Council said: "The council has a responsibility to assess all of its buildings for any risks, including the presence of asbestos, and to take appropriate action to ensure those buildings are safe to use.
"Each identified school has an asbestos management plan, which is reviewed each year.
"This has led to the removal of material where the asbestos is in a form where there is a substantial risk of disturbance, and in the majority of these cases, the remaining material is sealed within materials considered by the Health and Safety executive as low risks, such as some forms of plastic tiles.
"The management plans include, for example, guidance on carrying out maintenance or building work in or around areas with asbestos to ensure that it remains safe.
"Higher risk materials have been removed in a controlled way during the course of routine maintenance and redevelopment works over the years and this process will continue as schools are upgraded over time.
"We remain vigilant and while asbestos will ultimately be removed from all of our buildings, while it remains safe to manage it in place, we will keep the situation under continued review."
|Name||Type of Sch|
|Elmfield School for Deaf Children||SPE|
|St Phillips Marsh||NUR|
|St Werburghs Park||NUR|
|Air Balloon Hill||PRI|
|Our Lady of the Rosary RC||PRI|
|School Christ the King RC||PRI|
|SS Peter & Paul RC||PRI|
|St.Mary Redcliffe CE||PRI|
|St.Matthias & Dr Bell's CE||PRI|
|St.Nicholas of Tolentine RC||PRI|
|St.Pius X RC||PRI|
|Stoke Bishop CE||PRI|
|Two Mile Hill||PRI|
|West Town Lane||PRI|
|Abbotswood County Primary School|
|Almondsbury CE Primary School|
|Barley Close Primary School|
|Beacon Rise Primary School|
|Brimsham Green Secondary School|
|Broadway Infants School|
|Bromley Heath Infants School|
|Bromley Heath Junior School|
|Cherry Garden Primary School|
|Christ Church CE Primary School|
|Christ The King RC School|
|Christchurch CE Infant - Downend|
|Coniston Primary School|
|Crossways Infant School|
|Crossways Junior School|
|Elm Park Primary School|
|Frampton Cotterell CE Primary School|
|Frenchay CE Primary School|
|Hambrook Primary School|
|Hanham Abbots Junior School|
|Hawkesbury CE Primary School|
|Holy Family RC School|
|Horton CE Primary School|
|Iron Acton CE Primary|
|Little Stoke Primary School|
|Longwell Green Primary School|
|Manorbrook Primary School|
|Meadows Primary School|
|New Siblands Special School|
|North Road (Yate) Primary School|
|Old Sodbury CE Primary School|
|Oldbury-on-Severn CE Primary School|
|Olveston CE Primary School|
|Our Lady of Lourdes RC Primary School|
|Parkwall Primary School|
|Pucklechurch CE Primary School|
|Rangeworthy CE Primary School|
|Raysfield Infant School|
|Raysfield Junior School|
|Redfield Edge Primary School|
|Ridge County Junior School|
|Samuel Whites Infant School|
|Severn Beach Primary School|
|Shield Road Primary School|
|St Andrews CE VC Primary School|
|St Annes CE Primary School Oldland|
|St Augustine of Canterbury RC Primary School|
|St Barnabas CE Primary School|
|St Chad's Patchway C of E Primary School|
|St Helens Primary School|
|St John's Mead CE Primary School|
|St Mary's CE Primary School (Thornbury)|
|St Mary's CE Primary School (Yate)|
|St Michael's CE Primary School (Winterbourne)|
|St Michael's Primary School (Stoke Gifford)|
|St Paul's RC Primary School Yate|
|St Stephen's Infant School Kingswood|
|St Stephen's Junior School Kingswood|
|Stanbridge Primary School|
|The Tynings Primary School|
|Tortworth Primary School|
|Tyndale Primary School|
|Warmley Park School|
|Watermore Primary School|
|Wick CE Primary School|
|Primary||Type B||Schools with asbestos|
||as at Nov 2016|
|St Anne's (split site)||Primary|
|St Nicholas Chantry||Primary|
|Worlebury St Paul's||Primary|
|Voyage Learning Campus||Pupil Referral Unit|
A mum aged just 33 has become one of the youngest to be diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer – she fears was caused during school or her time as a barmaid.
Brave Kirsty List has just weeks to live but says the cause of her illness – which normally affects much older people – remains a mystery.
She believes she may have been exposed to asbestos either when she was a pupil at school or while working in pubs which were being renovated.
But surgeons only discovered her tumour when she went for an operation to remove gallbladder.
And she is now struggling with the prospect of leaving behind her five-year-old daughter Aimee who she lives with in Exeter, Devon.
She said: “My consultants said I was suffering from mesothelioma. I was incredibly shocked because it’s something you hear in older people, not younger people.
“I didn’t know anything about asbestos disease. The problem for me is there is very little information to parallel me with anyone and work out any prognosis.
“Most people with asbestos are old and are men.Kirsty List aged 33 who has been diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer pictured with her five-year-old daughter Aimee.
Kirsty first began feeling unwell in September 2015 and was treated for gallstones for six months.
But when they found her tumour around her gallbladder they instead carried out a tumour biopsy.
Six weeks later, Kirsty was given her devastating diagnosis, but said she never expected it to be related to asbestos – which was widely used within homes and other buildings until 1999.
She has tried five different types of chemotherapy without success and has been on end-of-life care since finishing her last course almost a year ago.
In December Kirsty was told she does not have long left and her condition is deteriorating all the time.
She added: “It was a conversation I asked to have with my consultant and I felt ready to know,.
“I said, ‘I don’t know if I will see next Christmas’, and my consultant said, ‘I think that’s about right’.
“Knowing how you’re going to die and you’re just going to waste away is horrible. I will quite literally waste away. I have already gone from a size 16-18 to a size 8.”
Kirsty List aged 33 who has been diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer pictured with her five-year-old daughter Aimee.
Kirsty says she has resisted making a bucket list because her focus instead is on keeping life as normal as possible for her daughter.
She said: “Aimee knows everything and understands that I’m dying, and most of the time she is okay about it.
“There’s no hiding from the fact that she is likely to be six-years-old when I pass away.”
Kirsty is still trying to figure out the origins of her disease. She said she went to a primary school in Reading which was built in the ’80s and was “riddled with asbestos”.
She later went to secondary schools in Reading and North Devon, and the latter also has asbestos.
She also spend 13 years working in pubs throughout the south west – some of which were being renovated.
Kirsty said: “I don’t find it particularly frustrating that I don’t know where I picked up asbestos from because I choose not to focus on it.
“I can’t change what’s happened but I do feel a little bit angry because of my daughter.
In the future Kirsty hopes more will be done to raise awareness about where asbestos is to help keep people safe, and not suffer like she and her family is.
She added: “I would not necessarily want asbestos to be taken out of all buildings as I know that would be incredibly impractical.
“But I would like to see it become part of everyone’s induction process when people start a new job.
“If asbestos is in a building everyone should be aware of where it is and how it should be treated to keep themselves and other people safe. It has to be a group effort.
“The asbestos register should also be overhauled to make sure reviews are ongoing.”
A support group for people affected by the asbestos-induced cancer mesothelioma will be holding a informal meeting near Truro on Thursday.
The South West Mesothelioma Support Group is inviting anyone affected by mesothelioma for a complimentary cream tea at The Victoria Inn in Threemilestone on February 2, from 10am until noon.
Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer which most commonly affects the lining of the lungs and is caused by the inhalation of disturbed asbestos fibres. Asbestos is often called the hidden killer as the dust can be too small to see and yet has the potential to kill.
Historically Devon and Cornwall are hot spots for mesothelioma with many cases emerging among former Devonport Dockyard workers and labourers.
The South West Mesothelioma Support Group was established in Plymouth to provide peer and professional advice and support for those affected by mesothelioma and their families, with the aim that those diagnosed would feel less isolated by their illness.
The group's friendly and informal meetings are a chance to meet other patients and carers who understand what those diagnosed are going through and also share more about the condition and the help that is available.
Members of the group also fund raise and spread awareness throughout the region about the disease and ongoing dangers of asbestos.
Recently appointed mesothelioma clinical nurse specialist for the south west Christine Jones will be attending the meeting.
For more information about the support group and the event, or to confirm your attendance, contact Mike Moncini on 07826 064929 or email Mikemoncini@talktalk.net
Based in Bristol, and covering the whole South West, A4 Asbestos are experts in testing, sampling, removal and collection of asbestos materials from domestic, commercial and industrial premises. We have many year’s experience in removing asbestos from heating systems. For more information please telephone head office on 0117 259 1425 or visit our page on South West Asbestos Removal
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