Protect our children from deadly asbestos in schools

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Protect our children from deadly asbestos in schools

UNISON, the UK’s largest union is today calling on the Government to give cast iron assurances that budget cuts will not undermine tackling the vital issue of removing deadly asbestos from schools.
Fears that an influential steering group set up to manage and monitor the impact of asbestos in schools is to be disbanded, has led to widespread anger and concern by unions who form the joint union asbestos campaign (JUAC).
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Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON said: “Asbestos is found in 75% of state schools.
In many cases it does not pose an immediate risk but it is vital that there is rigorous monitoring and inspection.
Parents need to know that the health of their children is not being put at risk and teachers and staff need protection. “The cross party steering group has schools representatives and experts who play an essential part in this vital work.
We want cast iron assurances from Government that it will not fall victim to its cuts regime.” Just recently fears have been raised about World War 2 gas masks containing asbestos being shown to children in schools.
Evidence points to WW2 gas masks containing blue asbestos being available for sale on online auction websites.
The Health and Safety Executive in Ireland has responded by issuing instructions to all schools to remove immediately all WW2 Gas Masks used as educational aids in history lessons.
HSE in England have yet to issue similar guidance to their Northern Ireland colleagues, and the Asbestos in Schools Group and JUAC will be advising David Laws MP, Minister of State for Schools, who is currently deciding on whether the Department of Education will highlight the very considerable risks with the use of WW2 Gas Masks in schools and prohibit their use.   Dave Prentis, went on to say: “We have to be vigilant.
Remembrance Day is coming up and many schools will be talking to children about the first and second world war.
Some old gas masks have been found to contain asbestos and they should not be given to children or tried on unless they have been given the all clear from asbestos”



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