Exposure to asbestos

Asbestos-related illnesses claim between 3,000 and 4,000 lives each year, mainly from cancers of the lungs and chest linings, caused by breathing in air containing asbestos fibres.

Between 1997 and 2000, 147 people working in education died from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer. The delay between first exposure and onset of disease can vary from 15 to 50 years. Sadly, the number of deaths from mesothelioma continues to rise, with the prediction that it will peak in 2015.

If you have been exposed to asbestos

If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos, you are advised to write to your employer expressing concern that you have been exposed to asbestos in your workplace. State when you started working at that establishment, your job title, the location of the asbestos and the date(s) during which the exposure may have occurred.

You should seek acknowledgement of your letter and keep copies of any correspondence. A few LAs have produced standard forms for employees to complete.

While those employed in educational establishments are at a low risk of developing asbestos-related illness, ATL keeps a record of members who may have been exposed to it in the workplace. Contact Carolina Sankarsingh on 020 7930 6441, complete this online form or download a word version of the form and return it to Carolina Sankarsingh, ATL, 7 Northumberland Street, London WC2N 5RD.

Need further advice?

Your first point of contact is your ATL rep in your school or college. Your local ATL branch is also available to help with queries, or you can contact ATL's member advisors on tel: 020 7930 6441 or email us. Please have your membership number to hand when telephoning and include it with any correspondence - this will help us to answer your query more quickly.

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