Concerned parents have pulled their children out of two schools built on a toxic waste site in North Lanarkshire amid growing health concerns.

St Ambrose High School and neighbouring Buchanan High, an additional support needs school, were built on a landfill site used to dump hazardous industrial waste, including arsenic and lead.

Last December, pupils and teachers were warned not to drink the tap water at the schools after it turned blue.

But it has since been revealed that four teachers from Buchanan High have been diagnosed with a rare form of bladder cancer.

It is understood that parents of at least 20 children are keeping their children off indefinitely after a public meeting was held last week to discuss health and safety concerns.

Claire Breslin, whose 14-year-old son attends St Ambrose High School, is one of the mothers who has vowed to keep her child off school until his health is given the all clear.

She said: “I’m really upset and apprehensive. There’s just a lot of unanswered questions. There’s the teachers with cancer and there’s also other people we know with cancer and children with health problems.

“As a mum, it’s my duty of care to make sure that my son is safe . I think that all the kids and staff should be tested to see [if they have any health issues].

“I’ll be keeping him off until we have some answers.”

Teachers at Buchanan High have voted for strike action after the public meeting last Thursday that was attended by hundreds of people.

The NASUWT union confirmed seven days of strike action later this month. Another parent said: “I am worried about the health of my son and other children at St Ambrose.

“We would like to know more – should we have him checked out? I would imagine the earlier anything is detected the better.”

The father-of-four, who asked not to be named, said: “We’re all worried. Keeping the kids off school is a symbol of our worry.”

Nearly 10,000 people have signed a petition launched by parents calling for pupils and staff to be tested for “contamination” saying they “will not tolerate anyone playing Russian roulette with our children’s and teachers health and lives.”

Fulton MacGregor, MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, said: “Parents are going to make a decision they think is best for their child, balancing out the pros and cons of taking their child out of school. It’s not an easy decision to make.

“I will be asking the government to ensure there is an independent investigation carried out that gets to the bottom of this issue, which is, is this school site safe?”

A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Council confirmed that parents of six pupils at St Ambrose and two at Buchanan had formally requested to remove their children.

He said: “Specialist doctors from the public health department of NHS Lanarkshire have confirmed that no incidence of cancer is linked to the schools. They have also confirmed that no other serious illness is connected to the schools or the site on which they are built.


“The council will liaise directly with trade unions on matters of concern to staff. All the facts demonstrate that the schools and the site on which they are built is safe.”