More than 17,000 students across 38 Universities have unknowingly been living with asbestos in their bedrooms.
Questions concerning asbestos and whether it was within university housing were put to universities across the county. Of the 88 that replied, 38 confirmed asbestos was present in the housing they provided. Staggeringly the University of Warwick confirmed they had 2,313 bedrooms containing asbestos. Cardiff University were not far behind, confirming they had 1,500 bedrooms contaminated. Both Universities admitted to not telling their students that asbestos existed in their living quarters!
Whilst asbestos can be relatively safe if not disturbed, once it is disturbed the consequences of exposure can be life threatening. Diseases born from asbestos can range from pleural plaques to more life threatening conditions such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Campaigners have raised concerns that asbestos damage in the housing could go unreported, with many students unaware of the risk it possess’. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers has stated it is “deeply concerned” about the issue and the risk to the students. They said, “ATL has campaigned hard for a national audit to check for the presence and state of asbestos in all education establishments and for its safe removal. This discovery shows how necessary and urgent this is”.
Asbestos related illnesses and diseases kill around 4,500 people in the UK each year.