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Thousands of local authority buildings in England still contain deadly asbestos

THOUSANDS of local authority buildings in England still contain deadly asbestos — more than two decades after its use was banned in Britain.

Britain still has the highest levels of deaths from the cancer it causes.

A new report by the Labour Research Department (LRD) said that out of a sample of 31 local authorities, only one had completely removed asbestos from all its buildings.

LRD carried out the research for the TUC and the all-party parliamentary group on occupational safety and health.

The TUC is calling for new legislation requiring the removal of all asbestos from public buildings, rather than the current policy of “managing” it.

The Factory Inspectorate first raised warnings about the deadly nature of asbestos in 1898, but it continued to be used for another 101 years, and its use was finally banned in 1999.

Asbestos causes mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs and diaphragm which usually kills within two years of diagnosis. The cancer can take 50 years to show itself.

Inhalation of just a few asbestos fibres can cause the cancer.

Mesothelioma is Britain’s biggest workplace killer, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The only way to protect today’s workers and future generations is through the safe removal of asbestos from all workplaces and public buildings. 

“We need national government to work with local authorities on a plan to remove it from every last building.”

All-party parliamentary group on occupational safety and health chairman Ian Lavery said: “The government must provide local councils with enough funding, with an aim to make all public buildings asbestos-free.”

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