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Luton Council faces asbestos legal threat

Luton Town Hall Image copyright bbc
Image caption Luton Borough Council faces a court case over asbestos in schools

The family of a teacher who died from asbestos-related cancer is planning legal action against Luton Council.

Ian MacDonald, of Harpenden, said he wanted the council to treat all asbestos products with plasticiser.

His wife Hazel was exposed to asbestos fibres while teaching at Denbigh Primary School in the town. Her inquest concluded she died as a result of inhaling airborne fibres.

The council said it followed government advice not to disrupt asbestos.

Mrs Macdonald died on 6 March 2012 and her 69-year-old widower said she had complained of chest pains for more than two years.

The coroner at her recent inquest concluded she died from epithelioid mesothelioma.

Recruit former staff

Mr Macdonald said: "I now want to take the matter to court to reverse the council's decision to leave asbestos in place in schools.

"For the sake of children the fibres should be covered by a plasticiser to keep them bonded.

"Asbestos in roof voids is open to air currents. Our advertising campaign is to raise awareness of the problem and also to gather evidence by recruiting the help of former staff and pupils."

Luton Borough Council said it was continuing to investigate the matter with the school so that a response could be made to the claim.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further until this process has concluded," a council spokesman said.

"All asbestos-based products are safe unless they are damaged or liable to damage, and in many instances it is safer to leave asbestos in place and not remove it."

Out of the 63 council schools in Luton, 59 are recorded as containing asbestos.

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