A SWINDON GP has claimed all organisations with a building should make sure they are inspected to ensure they are safe from the threat of asbestos-related diseases.

Dr Peter Swinyard, the chairman of The Family Doctor Association, said that building owners have a responsibility to make sure that those who use them are protected.

The warning comes following claims that asbestos may be found in up to 75 per cent of schools in the UK.

“If you have a building which you may consider toxic of course it is your responsibility to make it safe for whoever uses it be it children or teachers,” Dr Swinyard told Radio Five Live.

The GP pointed out that while many buildings do have asbestos in them there is little risk if it remains undisturbed.

However, he explained there may be a danger if a warm air heater was present.

“If the warm air is being channelled through an area with uncovered asbestos then they may carry fibres and I think every organisation that has a building should have a risk assessment to find out what is going on.”

While many people assume asbestos to be a thing of the past, Dr Swinyard has warned that it may be in some buildings which we consider to be fairly modern.

“Blue asbestos stopped being used in the 1970s and certainly by the early 1980s,” he said.

“Normal asbestos stopped being used by the late 1980s to the early 1990s so it is something which is for historical buildings but not necessarily ones we would consider that old.

“The difficulty with asbestos-related diseases is the time lag and it’s very hard to get a causal relationship between exposure and disease because the time lag is between 20 and 40 years usually, with exposure sometimes being very brief.”

A survey carried out by Swindon Council showed asbestos was widespread in the town’s buildings, including a number of schools.

A survey carried out in 2009 found asbestos was present in 20 locations at Covingham Park Primary School. A 2010 report also found asbestos was present in 21 different places at Drove Primary School.

In all sites where asbestos was discovered inspectors recommended removal by experts or declared them safe unless affected by building work.