A committee that advises the government on cancer has said children are more vulnerable to asbestos than adults over their lifetime. This is from the BBC…
It says a five-year-old is five times more likely than an adult of 30 to develop mesothelioma, a type of cancer linked to asbestos, if they are exposed to it at the same time.
This is because a child will normally live longer and have more time for the disease to develop, it says.
Most schools have asbestos.
Campaigners are calling for the material to be removed from all of England’s schools.
The government says there is no evidence that children’s lungs are more susceptible to mesothelioma, only that the risk to them is greater because of their life-expectancy and the time it can take for the disease to develop.
And it says that the accepted advice remains that it is safer to leave asbestos in place unless it is damaged or disturbed.
The Committee on Carcinogenicity, an independent committee that advises the government on cancer, was asked by the Department for Education to look at the relative vulnerability of children to asbestos compared with adults.
In its final report, published today after a two-year study, it says: “Because of differences in life expectancy, for a given dose of asbestos the lifetime risk of developing mesothelioma is predicted to be about 3.5 times greater for a child first exposed at age five, compared to an adult first exposed at age 25 and about five times greater when compared to an adult first exposed at age 30.”
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