29/06/2012

School's Asbestos Building Closed

Part of an east Belfast school has been closed after damaged asbestos was found inside.

The affected building at Bloomfield Collegiate was separate from the rest of the school and has now been closed.

It was the former Preparatory Department and two rooms were rented out to a private day care nursery.

The Public Health Agency and Health and Safety Executive are working together to investigate the findings, which came to light in a survey done by the school.

It is understood work done in 2001 may have damaged the insides of cupboards.

There is no immediate risk to public health, the PHA said, and it wished to reassure people.

A PHA factsheet on Asbestos was circulated to all staff and parents of children at the school.

Anyone who is still worried can contact a PHA health protection consultant here.

Asbestos is a general name given to several naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have crystallised to form long thin fibres. It is used in many products, including insulation for houses, tiles, car brakes and clutches, material for buildings, boilers and pipes, textured paints and reinforced plastic.

Asbestos products in good condition are safe. Asbestos is only hazardous when it is in a loose form, damaged, disturbed or worked on, as this and releases the asbestos fibres into the air.

Asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma take many years to manifest. There are no clinical tests to identify asbestos exposure apart from long-term evidence of damage caused by fibres within the lungs.

(NE)

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