Asbestos in schools
Asbestos in schools: HSE Northern Ireland investigating gauze mats
The Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) has announced that working to establish whether pupils in Northern Ireland have been affected by asbestos in classrooms.
Last week, SHP reported that the HSE in England had has said it has been made aware that two UK laboratory supply companies have supplied schools and potentially other users with gauze mats containing asbestos.
The metal gauze mats are designed for use over Bunsen burners.
The risk of exposure is said to be ‘low’, but the NASUWT teaching union has written to the Department of Education (DE) calling for the names of the two suppliers to be made public.
It is thought that potentially thousands of pupils could have been exposed to low levels of asbestos.
Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause serious and fatal illnesses including lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis, and can take 20 to 30 years before symptoms are detected.
The HSE in England has released some Advice to users of Bunsen burner wire gauzes that may contain asbestos.
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