Tens of thousands of council buildings in England contain potentially dangerous asbestos, new research has revealed.
Freedom of Information requests submitted by national law firm Stephensons Solicitors LLP show that more than 30,000 buildings owned or run by councils in England contain asbestos.
Stephensons sent requests to 333 councils in England and of the 253 that responded with the total number of buildings that contain asbestos, every single one owned or managed a building with the substance present.
Danielle Callaway, partner in the personal injury department at Stephensons, said: ‘I’m sure many people will be shocked to see the levels of asbestos in public buildings that our research has uncovered.
‘While the risk to people working in these buildings day to day may be low, even placing a pin into a wall containing asbestos can disturb it and lead to dust being released. For maintenance workers who may come into contact with the material as part of their job, asbestos exposure risks will be much higher.
‘Asbestos is often known as the “hidden killer” as we cannot see or smell the fibres in the air and the effects of exposure can take many years to materialise. Asbestos exposure to it can cause various, potentially fatal, lung diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.’
Stephensons is now calling for an open register so council workers have the full facts before going to work in buildings that contain asbestos.