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23% of Schools in England Failing to Report Asbestos Details

2019-01-23 11:20:28 dmin01

PAC Asbestos Surveys Ltd is an established business, with offices in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire. Paul Crane, the business founder, offers the expertise of independent, specialist services that are undertaken by fully qualified experienced surveyors who will assist you in your legal duty to manage asbestos in your premises.

It has been found that nearly a quarter of all schools in England are failing to report how much asbestos is in their building and how they are managing the risks – a committee of MPs has warned.

The deadline for schools to provide details of to the government was May 31 2018.

However, the Public Accounts Committee says they are “seriously concerned” about the lack of information that the Department for education has about asbestos in schools.

It also strongly suggested that schools that have not reported back should be “named and shamed”.

It is widely known that asbestos was banned from usage in 1999, however, it was used widely in construction right up to this date. It was particularly prevalent in schools and other buildings built between 1950 and 1990.

Commencing March last year, the Department for Education collected data about how asbestos was being managed across schools in England. This measure was taken to check that local academy trusts and authorities were responding to the danger appropriately.

“The department asked schools to respond by 31 May 2018. Due to the poor response rate, it extended the deadline to 25 June 2018 and then extended it again to 27 July 2018,” the PAC report says.

“Despite this, only 77% of schools have responded and the department has extended the deadline yet again, to 15 February 2019, to allow the remaining 23% of schools to respond.”

The committee adds: “We are not convinced that extending the survey deadline again will result in a much higher response rate.”

The committee says the government needs to “understand fully the extent of asbestos in school buildings and how the risks are being managed” and should release the names of those schools that have not replied.

“In March 2019, the department should name and shame those schools which did not meet the February 2019 deadline and which have therefore repeatedly failed to respond to its asbestos-management survey,” it says.

Meg Hillier, who chairs the committee, said: “It is not acceptable for schools to continue ignoring requests for details of asbestos in their buildings.

“Government needs to be clear how asbestos removal will be funded as it is not possible for schools to fund this from their existing budgets.

“Asbestos in schools can pose a significant threat to the health of pupils, staff and visitors.

“Where the risks are not being managed correctly, the government must be prepared to step in.”

“The committee suggests naming and shaming those bodies which have not responded but it would surely be more productive to understand what factors are holding up responses,” Geoff Barton said.

“The real problem is not response rates but the fact that there is no clear plan at government level over how to fund the removal of asbestos from school buildings and schools are desperately short of the money they need to finance such work.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Failure to provide the DfE with information about management of asbestos in schools is putting lives at risk.

“These delays show that academy trusts and local authorities who bear overall responsibility for health and safety in schools are not facing up to their legal responsibilities.”

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The 4,500 Year Journey Between Asbestos Discovery and Its Banishment: Part Four

2019-01-16 12:21:57 dmin01

The dangers of asbestos have been visible for nearly 2000 years, so why did it take so long for it to be recognised as a toxic material. PAC Asbestos Surveys digs into the history of Asbestos from its discovery over 4,500 years ago to its eventual banishment in 1999. This is the four of a five-part blog series that we will be publishing over the next few weeks.

1960s – Health Warnings Ignored Across the Asbestos Industry

Medical literature continued to showcase evidence that asbestos is a major carcinogen and a hazard to the environment – over 200 publications by the end of the 1960s. Despite having all of this knowledge about diseases and death resulting from asbestos exposure, manufacturers and installers of the material continued to sell and install it without warning workers about the known effects. This is made worse by the fact that many of these companies had secured information about the connection between asbestos and cancer as early as the 1930s. It was revealed that the companies to ordered these reports altered the research in order to hide their findings from the public.

1964 – Disease Widespread Among Asbestos Workers

A major researcher at Mt Sinai Hospital in New York, Dr Selikoff, confirmed that there was widespread disease among asbestos workers and the families of those who work within the asbestos industry. His report also included a number of job titles of those who were affected – including construction workers, electricians, plumbers and carpenters.

1967 – A worker Gains First Successful Personal Injury Claim in UK

A victim of asbestos exposure in the UK successfully filed a personal injury claim in 1967, which was upheld by courts in 1971. This case eventually paved the way for more claims of companies being negligent about asbestos exposure by victims who suffered from mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestos related diseases.

1969 – Asbestos Regulations Revamped in the UK

In the UK, the outdated asbestos regulations of 1931 were updated in 1969 and enabled asbestos to be regulated beyond the manufacturing process, expanding to every industry in which the product is used. These regulations required companies to use exhaust ventilation, protective equipment and improve their handling procedures. This was put in place to reduce the worker’s exposure to asbestos dust but did not fully eliminate the causes of asbestos-related diseases.

1970 – Congress Approves the Clear Air Act

In 1970, Congress passed a bill called the Clean Air Act which allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to be able to regulate asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant.

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The 4,500 Year Journey Between Asbestos Discovery and Its Banishment: Part Three

2019-01-03 15:46:13 dmin01

The dangers of asbestos have been visible for nearly 2000 years, so why did it take so long for it to be recognised as a toxic material. PAC Asbestos Surveys digs into the history of Asbestos from its discovery over 4,500 years ago to its eventual banishment in 1999. This is the three of a five-part blog series that we will be publishing over the next few weeks.

1947 – More Links Are Discovered Between Asbestosis and Lung Cancer

Dr Merewether conducted a study that found that 13% of asbestosis patients also had a form of cancer in their lungs or pleura.

1949 – The Mainstream Accepts the Harm That Asbestos Can Cause

Major strives are made as the Encyclopaedia Britannica lists asbestos as a recognised cause for occupational and environmental cancers. Additionally, the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that asbestos is probably linked to causing occupational cancer, although it is set out in as certain terms as the previous publication.

1953 – Cases of Mesothelioma Found in Asbestos Workers

Reports begin to emerge of asbestos insulator workers who have contracted Mesothelioma.

1955 – A Major Study is Published on the Link Between Asbestos and Cancer

A majority epidemiological study demonstrates that those who with asbestos have a ten times higher risk of contracting lung cancer than that of the general public.

1960 – Another Study Strengthens Link Between Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma

Just five years later, another epidemiological study confirms ongoing reports that prolonged exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma. This study also expanded to the children and wives of workers who had been exposed to asbestos.

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The 4,500 Year Journey Between Asbestos Discovery and Its Banishment: Part Two

2018-12-20 12:00:24 dmin01

The dangers of asbestos have been visible for nearly 2000 years, so why did it take so long for it to be recognised as a toxic material. PAC Asbestos Surveys digs into the history of Asbestos from its discovery over 4,500 years ago to its eventual banishment in 1999. This is the second of a five-part blog series that we will be publishing over the next few weeks.

1930s – Regulations Introduced in the UK

Following Dr Merewether’s discovery of asbestosis, he and his research partner Dr C W Price published an industry report that demonstrated the extent of asbestosis occurring in workers who have been exposed to asbestos for just nine months. As a result of their discoveries, British asbestos factories put regulations in place that were designed to protect workers who were exposed to the material regularly. Unfortunately, these regulations did not extend to workers outside of these factories who installed or handled asbestos regularly.

1933 – Reports of Asbestosis in America

Just three years after the discovery of asbestosis in the UK, America saw its first report of an insulation worker having the disease. Although, it has been speculated that asbestosis was previously misdiagnosed as tuberculosis and other diseases with similar symptoms. This resulted in the first legal action taken by asbestos workers who had contracted the disease, as the Metropolitan Life Insurance company found asbestosis in almost 30% of workers at the Johns-Mansville asbestos factory which lead to settlements for 11 of their employees.

1934 – First Link Between Asbestos and Lung Cancer

Not a year later, there were reported cases of asbestosis and lung cancer in an asbestos factory. A majority of the affected workers had been working there less than six months while being exposed to asbestos. This is also when the first reports of workers getting asbestosis from exposure to its products, including boiler workers, custodians and insulators.

1942 – Cancer Risk Warnings Are Issued

Almost a decade after the link was first made between asbestos exposure and cancer, a new report came out suggesting that lung cancer in building trades workers is likely to be caused by exposure to asbestos. A noted occupational physician and first chief of the environmental cancer section of the National Cancer Institute, Dr W C Heuper, was the first to link asbestos with asbestosis and cancer from exposure to asbestos manufacturing and handling the finished products like insulation. Later, in 1949, he would warn that asbestos put the general population at risk following over 200 references in widely available literature about the link between asbestos and disease.

1943 – First Mesothelioma-Like Tumour Reported

Just one year after cancer warnings were issued by Dr W C Heuper, the very first case of a mesothelioma-like tumour was reported by a German doctor, Dr Welder, while conducting an asbestos-related study.

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The 4,500 Year Journey Between Asbestos Discovery and Its Banishment: Part One

2018-11-27 16:21:57 dmin01

The dangers of asbestos have been visible for nearly 2000 years, so why did it take so long for it to be recognised as a toxic material. PAC Asbestos Surveys digs into the history of Asbestos from its discovery over 4,500 years ago to its eventual banishment in 1999. This is the first of a five-part blog series that we will be publishing over the next few weeks.

2400 BC – Asbestos is Discovered

Evidence has been found near Lake Juojärvi in Finland that suggests people over 4500 years ago would make pots and utensils from the material. There is also evidence from 300 BC from Theophrastus, the successor to Aristotle, about the usage of the material. The name Asbestos has roots in the ancient Greek word ‘ἄσβεστος’ which means “unquenchable” or “inextinguishable”.

First Century AD – Asbestos’ Toxicity is Discovered

There was an ancient Roman scholar called Pliny the Younger who wrote about the slaves that would mine and work with asbestos becoming very ill. Of course, it took nearly 2000 years to discover what made the material so deadly to those who worked around it.

1858 – Asbestos Comes to US Industry

In 1858, The Johns Company began mining fibrous anthophyllite to be used in the production of asbestos installation from the Ward’s Hill quarry in Staten Island, New York. The forthcoming industrial revolution would see asbestos production skyrocket in North America and the first commercial mine opened in 1874 in Quebec.

1918 – Asbestos Risk is Recognised

In 1918, 50 years after the mining of Asbestos in the US began, The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report that revealed the discovery of the high risk of early death among those who had worked with asbestos.

1930 – Asbestosis is Discovered

Famous researcher, DR ERA Merewether, published a clinical examination of hundreds of workers in the asbestos industry in 1930. It was found that 25% of all workers examined suffered from Asbestosis.

He discovered that:

  • Asbestos is a delayed disease and those that had worked around it would not show symptoms for many years after their exposure.
  • The dust that comes off asbestos should be controlled via ventilation and all workers should use respirators for protection.
  • All workers that are exposed to asbestos should be made aware and warned of the risk in order to assure “sane appreciation”.
  • Any finished products that created dust should have it controlled and minimised to prevent further exposure.

His description reflects the exact same description as we use today. If the asbestos industry had listened and fully implemented all of his recommendations, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved.

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