Yet more school children could be at risk of contracting asbestos-related diseases in future, according to a leading asbestos charity, the Glasgow Evening Times has reported.
The Clydeside Action on Asbestos (CAA) organisation is warning of the need to protect future generations from exposure to the deadly fibres ahead of their annual memorial service.
Every year, staff, volunteers and family members come together to remember those who have died as a result of mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.
Inhaling just one fibre of asbestos can be enough to trigger mesothelioma – a fatal cancer in the outer lining of the lung – with more than 500 people dying of the condition every year in Scotland.
CAA held the ceremony again today, with a wreath being laid by Glasgow man Jethro Bremner-Allison who lose his father William to the mesothelioma in 2016. Jethro said:
“I feel honoured to lay this wreath in memory of all those families who have had to endure losing a loved one to mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases.
Like them, I am living with loss, trying to manage grief and trying to focus on the many, many happy times we had as a family. I miss my father every single day.
If there is anything that can be done to protect future generations from the dangers of asbestos, I will wholeheartedly support it.
I do not ever want to be at this memorial in years to come and hear that someone has died from being exposed at school when we have the chance to do something about it right now.”
Phyllis Craig MBE, Manager at CAA, said:
“As Scotland’s leading asbestos charity, we see the direct impact that a diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestos related lung cancer can have on a family.
We have to remember that when a person dies from an asbestos related disease, there is a wide network of close family, extended family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and former colleagues who are affected by the loss.
There is a frustration and anger along with grief; how can it be that a person has died because they were exposed to asbestos when the dangers of asbestos have been known for so long?
Every year, the numbers being diagnosed continues to rise, and every year, the number of people coming along to our memorial continues to rise.
That is why, this year, we also want to raise awareness of the thousands of people who continue to be exposed to asbestos, not only at work, but also by simply spending time in public buildings that contain asbestos.”
An estimated 1500 school buildings are thought to contain asbestos, with Phyllis warning that any building built before 2000 could contain the toxic substance. She added:
“We know that removing asbestos from all public buildings would be a mammoth and costly task and it is therefore imperative that asbestos in buildings has to be managed with the utmost responsibility and care.
However, it is a shocking reality that over 1500 schools and nurseries in Scotland contain asbestos. Our priority is to see asbestos removed from all schools and nurseries in Scotland by 2040.”