Category Archives: victims

All Party Parliamentary Group regulations for removal of all asbestos in schools by 2028

“The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health believes that the time has come to put in place regulations requiring the safe, phased and planned removal of all the asbestos that still remains in place across Britain. …..

  • the dutyholder must develop and implement a plan for the removal of all asbestos which ensures that removal is completed as soon as is reasonably practical but certainly no later than 2035. In the case of public buildings and educational establishments, such as schools, this should be done by 2028.”

Background – or read the paper:  APPG paper Remove asbestos in schools by 2028

Continue reading

BBC news: Take lead on asbestos in schools. Welsh government told. Gwyneth Bonnet dies

BBC News:  Take lead on asbestos in schools, Welsh Government told. BBC News 30 July Lawyer Cenric Clement-Evans told BBC Wales he wanted the government to set up an advisory group and create a Wales-wide policy. The Welsh government and UK government have disagreed over whether the matter is devolved. Asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999, after a link was established to lung diseases including mesothelioma. In England, the government published a similar policy in March this year, but there is uncertainty over who has responsibility in Wales.

Mr Clement-Evans, a lawyer from the Right to Know: Asbestos in Schools Wales campaign, said: “I don’t care who takes responsibility, I want somebody to take responsibility… “This is too important to get embroiled in some form of party politics or some big issues between the Welsh government and the UK government”.. “I think that the way is fairly straightforward, not the managing of the issue but the putting together of a steering group, deciding policy.” ..”I don’t think it’s difficult to start that ball rolling.”
Between 2003 and 2012, 224 people in Britain whose last occupation was recorded as “teaching professional” died of mesothelioma… The rate of deaths is rising, but only in line with overall mesothelioma deaths, which amounted to 21,957 during this same period… One of those was Gwyneth Bonnet. ..She was a college lecturer and teacher in Llangefni, Anglesey, in the 1990s and thought she came into contact with asbestos at Coleg Menai’s old Pencraig college campus…

Morris Ware died from mesothelioma

Local Guardian and Croydon Advertiser: Morris Ware died from mesothelioma, a cancer associated with inhaling asbestos dust, in March last year. .. Between 1961 and 1963 he worked for Croydon Corporation, now Croydon Council, in particular on a school and while decorating homes in New Addington.

… he remembered that he had to rub down asbestos roof tiles while refurbishing a school on a road in the borough then known as Scarborough Hill

BBC speaks to teachers dying of mesothelioma

BBC News Channel Victoria Derbyshire speaks to teachers dying from mesothelioma having been in contact with asbestos in school. The video is available for 29 days from today. Teachers must be protected from the “scourge of asbestos” in UK schools, the National Union of Teachers has said. Two former teachers tell how they have been affected. “I think it was in the ceilings, and I presume it was in the walls,” said Jenny Darby, 71, a science teacher between 1969 and 1996. “So when the [ceiling] tiles came off, the asbestos would come down. I used to stick them back up almost every day.” She does not know where she was exposed to the asbestos that caused her mesothelioma – a rare form of cancer almost always caused by exposure to the substance – but thinks it might have been in one of her classrooms. Asbestos was also in her lab equipment.

A 2013 study from the independent Committee on Carcinogenicity estimated more than 75% of schools in England had buildings containing asbestos. The NUT puts the UK-wide figure at 86%, based on a Freedom of Information request to local authorities. Symptoms of the cancer generally take 30 to 40 years to develop. Once diagnosed, however, most people can expect to live between just 12 and 21 months.

Jenny was diagnosed in May 2013 and is hoping her chemotherapy has slowed the cancer’s progress. But her husband, Bromley, said they were “on borrowed time”. “We’re looking ahead maybe six to eight weeks, maybe more,” he said, regarding the couple’s ability to make plans for the future. … David said.. “So I never thought I was really being exposed until after being diagnosed. I wasn’t aware that by banging doors that could have disturbed some of the asbestos fibres, which I’m now told it could have done. He described asbestos in schools as “a time-bomb waiting to explode”, and his main fear is for pupils. “Children will be children,” he said. “They will knock, tap, kick balls – no matter what signs you put up,” he says.

There are no statistics to suggest how many people might have developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure as a pupil, but the Committee on Carcinogenicity suggests a child first exposed to asbestos aged five has a lifetime risk of developing the cancer about five times greater than that of an adult first exposed aged 30.

The government said it would continue to develop more targeted guidance on asbestos management in schools and, where appropriate, fund its removal. A Department of Education spokesperson said: “Billions has been invested to improve the condition of the school estate, with further significant investment to come over this Parliament. This funding will help to ensure asbestos is managed safely and that the amount in school buildings continues to reduce over time.”

But NUT general secretary Christine Blower said the government had no “long-term strategy” and there was “still no [government] recognition that asbestos is a serious problem for schools”.

College lecturer verdict ‘Death from industrial disease’

College lecturer verdict ‘Death from industrial disease.’
We are saddened to hear of the death from mesothelioma of Gwyneth Bonnet, a college lecturer.

North Wales Chronicle 30th April 2015
In a statement to lawyers Mrs Bonnet recalled how when she lectured in psychology at Coleg Menai, Llangefni, in the 1990s she operated in mobile and prefabricated classrooms which were dilapidated and whose walls and ceilings were infested with rats….Rev Tom Bonnet told the coroner that there had been a refusal by the authorities to provide evidence of what the situation had been.

Recording a conclusion that Mrs Bonnet died arising from an industrial disease Mr Gittins said evidence provided by her indicated that the exposure to asbestos would have occurred during her time at Pencraig.”

Music teacher died of mesothelioma. Local authority admit culpable exposure to asbestos

Music teacher died of mesothelioma. Local authority admitted culpable exposure to asbestos

Julia Popple died aged 54 from mesothelioma following following exposure to asbestos in her early career.

Mrs Popple worked as an assistant music teacher at a state school in Newham, East London in the 1980s when she was in her late 20s. She was only in employment there for three years but suffered what the local authority admitted was culpable exposure to respirable asbestos dust. The school contained lots of asbestos materials and some of the walls comprised asbestos insulation board. Lots of the classrooms had asbestos ceiling tiles and Julia often went into a broom cupboard to fetch a dustpan and brush when this cupboard was itself contaminated with low but, foreseeably harmful levels of asbestos dust and fibre….Stephen Glynn was prepared to take on the claim under a CFA well before the defendant admitted liability. He advised and drafted pleading which led to the settlement this week of the claim in the sum of £450,000.

Retired teacher Penny Devaney gave her life to education, literally

Asbestos: A double standard Retired teacher Penny Devaney gave her life to education, literally
SecEd 30 April: “Fire deaths, cycle deaths and school related asbestos deaths school-related asbestos deaths – while the government acts on the first two, it is scandalously slow to tackle the third, says Kevin Courtney… Perhaps it is the delayed effect – death can occur decades after first exposure. But those 200 to 300 former pupils who die each year are stolen from their families, often with dependent children, and are robbed of many years of productive life and a happy retirement.”

Daily Mirror 3th April: “Retired teacher Penny Devaney gave her life to education, literally.
Sometime during her 30 years at primary schools in Lancashire  she was exposed to asbestos, which was commonly used in public buildings after the Second World War, and now she has terminal lung cancer… Penny…won an undisclosed six-figure settlement from Lancashire County Council... Ian Toft, an expert asbestos lawyer at her solicitors Irwin Mitchell, said: “Penny, like many other teachers, was not warned of the dangers of asbestos, despite the risks of exposure being known for decades.”

NUT – Nearly 90% of schools contain asbestos and teachers are dying in increasing numbers

NUT conference 7 April. Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said: “The continuing presence of asbestos in our schools is a scandal.  Nearly 90% of schools still contain asbestos and teachers are dying in increasing numbers. In 2012 alone there were 22 teacher deaths from mesothelioma. .. The Coalition Government has not acknowledged that there is a serious problem with asbestos in schools and as a consequence has, despite its recent Asbestos in Schools Review, failed to provide a long term strategy to address the problem. … We want to see nothing less than a complete national audit of the extent, type and condition of asbestos in our schools. In the short to medium term asbestos must be better managed.  In the long term, however, any future government must make real steps towards the removal of asbestos in schools, so that this threat to pupils, teachers and other school staff can finally be eradicated.”

Jennifer Barnett died .. came into contact with asbestos teaching in school

Jennifer (Jen) Barnett from Painswick, died five months’ ago aged 60 after being diagnosed with the extremely aggressive cancer which affects the lining of the lungs, leaving her husband Nigel and the rest of the family devastated. ..Jen taught at Archway School between 1980 and 1997, where she was known as Miss Shonk, and rose to become head of art before she left to have her fourth child at the age of 42. Her family believes she came into contact with asbestos during her time there when she pinned pupils’ work up for display onto the ceilings and walls… Her husband Nigel said “I am hoping that former teachers or ex-pupils will come forward who may have some knowledge about the asbestos ceiling tiles at Archway School or know of any other asbestos products or materials that were used there. I know that Jen was involved in clay modelling and that the damp cupboard for storing clay items was lined with asbestos board.”She also was believed to have been exposed to asbestos when she cut up a shed as a teenager, the pathologist conducting the post mortem examination was told.

My Sandra was killed by asbestos in school

“My Sandra was killed by asbestos in school. The grieving husband of a woman who died of cancer after being exposed to asbestos during her schooldays has vowed to carry on her fight for justice. Iain Naylor’s wife Sandra passed away last August, aged 52, following a painful battle with mesothelioma…… He said: “We are angry beyond words that Sandra was exposed to asbestos years after the first warnings went out in 1967 about the dangers in schools.”

The mum-of-two blamed her diagnosis on asbestos dust from building work while she attended Caldervale High School in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, between 1974 and 1979… Sandra was just one of thousands of youngsters potentially exposed to asbestos during their schooldays. Between 1947 and 1975 around 13,000 schools were built when use of the substance was at its peak. The average time from exposure to contraction of the cancer is 35 years and lawyers believe the peak of cases will come after 2020.

School cleaner died of mesothelioma

School Cleaner died of mesothelioma Mrs Hamilton was a cleaner in a school in Durham. She sadly died of mesothelioma in June 2011. The school buildings were CLASP and, according to her solicitor, “large amounts of brown asbestos was damaged” . ‘A COUNCIL says it is managing and monitoring asbestos in its schools, after it agreed to pay compensation for the death of a cleaner following exposure to the deadly fibres….Mrs Hamilton worked as a cleaner at Belmont Comprehensive School, Durham, in the mid-1980s, when industrial illness lawyer Philip Thompson, who represents her husband, says not only was there asbestos present, but large amounts of brown asbestos was damaged and therefore likely to give off deadly loose fibres.’

We are saddened to hear of the deaths from mesothelioma of Laura Armitage and Jean Weston.

We are saddened to hear of the deaths from mesothelioma of Laura Armitage and Jean Weston. Laura had worked in the school kitchens in a school in Barnsley and Jean had been a teacher…. “Post mortems carried out on Jean Weston, 86, and 84-year-old Laura Armitage revealed both were suffering from fatal mesothelioma, both had only worked in Barnsley schools.Mrs Weston had been a teacher at Darfield Foulstone school for almost 40 years, only leaving when she retired in the late 1980s. Mrs Armitage worked in the kitchens at the old Whinmoor School in Barugh Green from 1975 to 1988…. Inquests concluded both had died due to industrial disease.”

Government Review of asbestos in schools published – welcomed but an analysis of the flaws linked to a copy

At this link is a welcome for the review and an analysis of the flaws in the review that need rectifying. The analysis is linked to a copy of the review.