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More than 25 years after the ban on asbestos, thousands of kindergartens and elementary schools still contain this insulating material. The program Vert de rage, on France 5, has started their census and offers an interactive map to find out if your school has been asbestos removed… or not.

The use of asbestos has been banned in France since 1997. But since that date, not all buildings that contain this insulating material have been removed from asbestos. Thus the pupils of thousands of nursery and elementary schools are still potentially exposed to asbestos dust, if the walls of their school are cracked and poorly maintained.

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Faced with this observation, the team of the program Vert de Rage, on France 5, conducted the investigation and embarked on the census of schools which would still contain asbestos.

Asbestos in one third of responding schools

“It was a long job to contact the 50,000 schools and the 35,000 town halls which are responsible for it”, underlines Mathilde Cusin, co-director of Green with rage, on FranceInfo. Not all establishments responded to requests from the team of journalists. Of the 31,605 schools surveyed, only 19,331 responded. “For the latter, we learn that 5505, or more than a third, show traces of asbestos. Conversely, we know that 4,771 schools do not contain any”.

Be careful, the presence of asbestos as a thermal insulator does not necessarily represent an immediate danger. But it is the potential degradation of this material, especially during work that releases fibers and dust into the air, which can be worrying.

The solution, for the Urgence Amiante Ecoles association, would be to launch a major school building rehabilitation plan. “We are aware of the financial stakes. It is not up to the communities alone to solve the problem” insists the association which also campaigns for the existence of a directory of schools concerned or not by asbestos, which would be accessible to all.

In the meantime, a first census has been carried out by the Rage Green team. In collaboration with France Info, it is possible to see if your child’s school is concerned by clicking in this search engine. This directory will be regularly updated.

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