Asbestos in schools: what you need to know

The Department for Education referred nearly 700 schools in England to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as they did not provide evidence that they were managing asbestos in line with regulatory requirements. Of the 29,000 schools in Britain, more than 75% contain asbestos.

Asbestos, the so-called magic mineral, was introduced into building materials over 100 years ago because of its insulation and fire-retardant properties. Its use in buildings peaked in 1975. It was used to lag pipes and boilers, and it was used in walls and ceilings. But the mineral turned out to be a killer. Blue and brown asbestos were banned in the UK in 1984, and white asbestos was banned in 1999.

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