MASS panic surrounding the blue water schools was created by a lack of trust in the authorities and public reassurances which came too late, according to experts.

North Lanarkshire council and NHS Lanarkshire were criticised in the Government's independent review into the problems, for failing to properly address parents' concerns and handle media inquiries appropriately.

A public meeting held on June 6 is described as a "turning point for relationships" between authorities and the school staff and parents, with the review acknowledging that public officials were "unprepared for the level of aggression towards them".

Those attending the meeting called officials liars, and "a disgrace to the medical profession" which, it has been acknowledged "could not be dealt with properly".

Social media is also thought to have played a huge part in fanning the flames of public concern, with misinformation circulating on platforms like Facebook mixed in with factual statements and genuine concerns.

Read more: 'Blue water' school: questions mount for striking union

The government's review stated that the school scare was a "virtually unique set of circumstances where there are no guidelines to address understandable fears and concerns in a social media-driven world unknown until very recent times".

The council's own press team also acknowledged they have learned from the saga.

John Drury, an expert in crowd psychology and Professor of Social Psychology from the university of Sussex, said that a lack of trust in authorities has played a huge role in the blue water scare and the lingering concerns among some parents.

He said: "I would say that the relationship of trust – or lack of it – between authorities and the public is likely to be an issue in [this case]. They may not regard the review as genuinely "independent".

"I don’t think these phenomena are specifically forms of crowd psychology, though they do involve issues of trust and identity. The people that tend to believe concerns around things like the claim that MMR leads to autism are those with a suspicion of the medical establishment.

"They are not failing to correctly process information; rather, they do not trust the sources of some of that information. They have more trust in other sceptics than in the authorities."

Drury has researched other incidents where a complete lack of trust in authority has led to public disbelief when presented with hard facts or evidence. Similar to the blue water schools and the MMR jab scare, his research into anti-paedophile protests in Portsmouth in the summer of 2000 showed that the media played a large part in fanning the flames, as well as trying to denigrate those with concerns.

He explained: "I saw a similar thing in my research on the anti-paedophile protest crowds. Some commentators accused these protest crowds of stupidity because they ignored information from police and others about whether people in their community were paedophiles.

"But the protesters simply didn’t trust the police or other authorities, and therefore developed their own knowledge and trusted sources."

Read more: Blue water schools scare: How it unfolded

With the blue water scare, some journalists went into overdrive, with reporters from across the country looking into the issue. North Lanarkshire council handled almost 200 media inquiries about the school, compared with an average of around 25 queries about other individual issues.

Some journalists were seen collecting soil samples from the school grounds to take them for their own testing, despite that fact experts had already tested more than 60 samples on the site and were working on the results.

Others printed images of the school side by side with old photographs of dusty, smog-filled Gartsherrie Ironworks, which was actually located one mile from the site where the school currently stands.

Confusion surrounded the number of teachers diagnosed with bladder cancer, with some reports stating four teachers had been affected.

It emerged later that three teachers (two of whom have retired) had bladder cancer, while another teacher is understood to have another type of cancer.

To restore confidence in the authorities, the independent review into the school has suggested "tentatively" that several actions could be taken, including providing a role for parents, staff and MSPs who are interested in getting involved.

Read more:SNP MSPs accused of trying to "weaponise" blue water school row 

It stated that while those who have expressed concerns had every right to do so, their worries "have been listened to" and added: "The opportunity now exists for them to influence."

Among the measures suggested include creating a group of parents, staff and local MSPs who could help signpost concerned locals to the relevant information on where to seek help, as well as conduct indoor air quality monitoring at the school.

The report concluded: "We do not criticise parents and staff for raising legitimate worries, but conclude that now is the time that those whose felt unheard before can be confident that they have now been heard.

"Now is the time to engage and connect with what we suggest.

"We conclude that the response of North Lanarkshire Council was too slow, too defensive and too disconnected from the school communities.

"We conclude that there are matters that North Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire could have done better and from which they must learn."