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Westminster Safety Disagreement Highlights Risk in Schools
Date:3/25/2009

> A spokesperson said that it had received a copy of the report and "will be considering its contents". Meanwhile, a Guardian article published today, prompted by Clinica's findings, features a response from the PWSD. It cites the conclusions of a survey by another consultancy, said to have given the Palace a "clean bill of health".

"This discrepancy between the two perspectives is far from reassuring, given the questionable history of asbestos management at the Palace," said Clinica's investigations editor, Bernard Murphy. "Nor can it ease concerns related to the widespread, potentially hazardous levels of asbestos contamination - and its potential mismanagement - in other public structures, notably schools and hospitals."

"Some high-profile examples of management failures have reached the media, but the risk of any such instance in schools, in particular, cannot be entertained. Yet there is growing evidence, however isolated and disputed - including the growing incidence of asbestos-related disease and deaths among teachers - that it is actually happening."

A parliamentary debate on "asbestos in schools" is due to take place in Westminster Hall today. It is being led by the Liberal Democrat shadow work and pensions minister, Paul Rowen, with the support of other MPs.

The leading aim of an increasingly vocal campaign to address concerns related to the construction of around 20,000 schools when asbestos was commonly used, is the establishment of a publicly-accessible register of asbestos in schools, based on a comprehensive and transparent surveying regime. Clinica is calling for an urgent review and tightening of asbestos safety policy, in line with these concerns.

The HSE seems averse: "It is difficult to justify creating a register when there is a system in place that, if used properly, provides the correct information to everybody liable to disturb asbestos. We mustn't
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SOURCE Clinica
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