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CAA held our annual memorial day on Friday 7th July in Provands Lordship – St Nicholas Gardens to mark “Action Mesothelioma Day”
Thank you to everyone who attended and to those who laid a wreath remembering everyone who has died from mesothelioma, lung cancer and all other asbestos related diseases. Many thanks to Jethro Bremner- Allison and his wife Lucy for laying the wreath on behalf of CAA. A very special gesture by them and a touching moment shared by all of us who were there to pause, reflect and remember.
The need to protect our future generations from the danger of asbestos exposure was the focus of a this year’s memorial service
Phyllis Craig MBE, Clydeside Action on Asbestos:
As Scotland’s leading asbestos charity, we see the direct impact that a diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestos related lung cancer can have on a family. We have to remember that when a person dies from an asbestos related disease, there is a wide network of close family, extended family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and former colleagues who are affected by the loss. There is a frustration and anger along with grief; how can it be that a person has died because they were exposed to asbestos when the dangers of asbestos have been known for so long?
Every year, the numbers being diagnosed continues to rise, and every year, the number of people coming along to our memorial continues to rise. That is why, this year, we also want to raise awareness of the thousands of people who continue to be exposed to asbestos, not only at work, but also by simply spending time in public buildings that contain asbestos. Any building built before the year 2000 can contain asbestos. We know that removing asbestos from all public buildings would be a mammoth and costly task and it is therefore imperative that asbestos in buildings has to be managed with the utmost responsibility and care. However, it is a shocking reality that over 1500 schools and nurseries in Scotland contain asbestos. Our priority is to see asbestos removed from all schools and nurseries in Scotland by 2040
Anas Sarwar, MSP
When I became aware that CAA had lodged a petition calling on duty holders, MSP’s, councillors and all those responsible for children’s safety in schools to come together to ensure the safe management and removal of asbestos from schools, I was to delighted support the petition. I had the honour of being the first MSP to sign it, and would urge those who have not yet signed to do so. Children are more susceptible to developing an asbestos related disease simply because of the long time it takes to develop following exposure, and it our responsibility to do everything in our power to protect children.
Jethro Bremner-Allison lost his father to mesothelioma in 2016. He was asked by Phyllis Craig to lay the wreath at the memorial service.
I feel honoured to lay this wreath in memory of all those families who have had to endure losing a loved one to mesothelioma or other asbestos related disease. Like them, I am living with loss, trying to manage grief and trying to focus on the many, many happy times we had as a family. I miss my father every single day. If there is anything that can be done to protect future generations from the dangers of asbestos, I will wholeheartedly support it. I do not ever want to be at this memorial in years to come and hear that someone has died from being exposed at school when we have the chance to do something about it right now.
Bruce Shields, of Thompsons Solicitors
It is widely accepted that mesothelioma can be caused by very low levels of exposure to asbestos. Sadly, we do see people whose only exposure to asbestos was from working in a public building, hospital or school. We know that being a pupil at a school that contained asbestos can cause mesothelioma as we are assisting the family of a lady who died from mesothelioma whose only exposure to asbestos was being a pupil whilst maintenance work was being carried out. Local Authorities may argue that this type of exposure is low risk, but the fact is, low risk is not the same as no risk.
Gary Smith, Secretary of GMB Scotland
There have been those who have tried to deflect from the issue by saying that calling for the removal of asbestos from schools is scaremongering. This is simply not the case. One example of this is that in 2009, the Highland News reported that within Highland Council 123 out of 221 schools had only a partial or no asbestos survey. This is deeply concerning. If schools are not aware of the presence of asbestos in their buildings or are not managing it properly, then this is a problem that needs to be urgently addressed.
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Compensation and Benefits