Each year, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation (ADAO) dedicates April 1-7 to increasing awareness about asbestos and preventing exposure, bringing experts and people with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases together worldwide to share, learn, and take action.
To support the ADAO’s efforts, Euro Environmental Ltd. is offering free training in asbestos management throughout April to staff at schools across the United Kingdom. The company, established in 1999, specializes in inspections, analysis, and consultancy in fields related to occupational health and safety.
Schools built before 2000 may well have used asbestos-containing materials, the company said in a press release, adding that estimates indicate that 75 percent of U.K. schools constructed since the mid-1940s still contain asbestos. Because these buildings are aging and in need of maintenance and upgrades, people using them could be at risk of exposure resulting from inadequately managed work.
“Asbestos use was prevalent in schools as the majority of the buildings were built between the 1950’s and 1980’s — the height of Asbestos use in this country. As a result, many schools were unknowingly left with an unfortunate legacy of having to manage potentially dangerous material and relevant individuals were often unaware of the extent of the threat or the locations of hazardous materials,” Matthew Aizlewood, contracts manager of Euro Environmental, said in the release. “Asbestos only poses a risk if it is damaged or disturbed, therefore correct management of the material is essential, and the first step in safely managing Asbestos is to know it is there.”
Asbestos, a known carcinogen, has been widely used since the 19th century in construction, shipbuilding, and the automotive industry. Its use remains legal in nearly 70 percent of the world today, including in the U.S.
“As schools everywhere will appreciate, adequate education is the key first step from which everything else follows,” added Lee Hall, the company’s managing director.
School administrators in the U.K. are invited to contact Euro Environmental for more information and to request free training in asbestos removal through the company’s website during April.
Mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer, is linked to asbestos exposure. That exposure typically comes through the workplace — industrial settings, shipyards, auto repair shops — but also can occur in older houses, schools, and public buildings. While long-term exposure is usually needed to put a person at risk, short-term and even a single incident of exposure has been known to cause this cancer.