Health - Warning to parents to be vigilant

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Following reports from Hemel Hempstead that teenagers are climbing on asbestos roof panels, I’d like to warn parents of the real potential dangers to their children’s health.

As the general manager of the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA), I am all too aware of the prevalence of asbestos in many public areas and buildings, and the fact that children are using the sites as play areas is a huge cause for concern.

Even though asbestos is no longer used as a building material, it is the biggest workplace killer in the UK and much of it still remains.

When left undisturbed, it is harmless, but when asbestos containing materials are damaged or disturbed (for instance by climbing on them) particles are inhaled to potentially deadly effect, causing such diseases as mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer which doesn’t surface until up to 20 years after initial exposure.

Parents should be vigilant as to their children playing around disused buildings as there is a high likelihood they contain the deadly carcinogen.

Craig Evans

General Manager, UKATA