School Bunsen Burner Gauze Mats Asbestos
Asbestos has been found in school bunsen burner gauze mats in England. The Health & Safety Executive have warned some of the mats contain Tremolite asbestos. They report that the risk is low but are investigating. The Health & Safety Executive have instructed two UK companies to stop supplying the mats to schools.
Concerns About Asbestos Exposure
The teaching union (NASUWT) has sent a request to the Department for Education to name the two companies who were supplying the contaminated mats to schools. They have raised multiple concerns and asked that schools be given advice. The contaminated mats have been in supply since 1976 according to one website.
Concerned that pupils, teachers and other staff have been exposed to asbestos the teaching union has asked how the two companies in question have not been identified, supplying dangerous materials before now.
What is Bunsen Burner Gauze Mats?
The gauze mats are usually placed on top of a tripod above the bunsen burner. They create a fire-proof flat surface so that pupils can place glass vessels of liquid safely over the flame.
During testing 20-30% of the heat-resistant material was made from Tremolite asbestos. Tremolite has fibres similar to needles and are toxic. Inhalation can cause all sorts of problems including mesothelioma and lung cancer.
UK Wide Investigation
The education authority is working with the HSENI to see what schools may be affected in Northern Ireland. They report that they will keep all schools updated with any news as part of the UK-wide review. You can read the full BBC article here.
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