Many aging hospitals and schools are putting those who work in them in the UK at an increased risk for asbestos exposure. Such exposure has been linked to the rise in asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis , lung cancer , and mesothelioma . This has led to the cry from unions and other concerned parties to survey all public buildings and create a national database that can be accessed by employees. Asbestos was a common construction material during the twentieth century. It found its way into every aspect of building from roofing tiles to floor glue. At its height of use in the UK, between 1945 and 1974, over 13,000 schools that are still in use today were built.
This accounts for a large percentage of the current 20,400 primary and 3,400 secondary schools currently in use. Whereas in the past, many asbestos victims came from trade and blue-collar professions, doctors are now seeing those in the teaching and medical fields being affected. This has led many to wonder about the long-term effects of low-level asbestos exposure . Since it can take more than ten years after exposure before a disease caused by asbestos develops, studies concerning the cause and effect of asbestos exposure can take decades. Doctors and nurses are not safe either. Many of them are joining the ranks of the more than 4,000 lives lost to asbestos exposure annually. They are adding to the call for a national registry of information about asbestos in schools and hospitals. The UK government and the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) respond to the petitions for a national database by saying that much of the information is already publicly available. While it seems that the UK government is dragging its feet to act against asbestos in public schools and hospitals, it is expected to force a long-term evacuation of the Houses of Parliament in order to remove the asbestos in the buildings. Many shake their heads at the perceived double standard, while others continue to seek help for the teachers and medical professionals still at risk for asbestos exposure.