Once again, Philadelphia schoolteachers are confronting the very real risk of malignant mesothelioma from asbestos in their aging school buildings. This time the problem is with Center City’s Masterman School. As the school opened its doors in preparation for the new school year, sixty different areas of asbestos contamination were identified. Teachers say that they don’t feel safe and plan to work outdoors.
Asbestos Contamination Makes Philadelphia School a Mesothelioma Risk
The teachers at Masterman School have indicated that they do not want to work inside the building until they get answers to what the district is going to do to protect them from the risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. They have good reason to fear, as a colleague from another asbestos-contaminated Philadelphia school building has already been diagnosed with the rare and fatal form of cancer.
In a letter sent to the school district this past week, teachers referenced Lea DiRusso, who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma two years ago and who recently agreed to an $850,000 settlement with the district. “We have already seen what might happen if these issues are ignored, with the terminal cancer diagnosis of our colleague caused by asbestos exposure in district buildings,” the teachers wrote.
Mesothelioma Risk Comes from Disturbed Asbestos
The asbestos that is posing the mesothelioma risk for teachers is apparently a result of construction work that is going on at the school, including a roof replacement project. Testing has revealed problems in the school’s art room, in a second-floor bathroom, and coming from drop ceilings throughout the building. Though hundreds of feet of damaged asbestos-contaminated areas were slated for removal, they are still in place.
Teachers and students have been out of the building since March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and teachers say that they are anxious to get back to work but can’t with the risk of mesothelioma hanging over their heads. “We want to get back to teaching children and promoting their growth, and we will find a way to work outside of the building until demands around transparency and environmental safety are met.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or fears the outcomes of exposure to asbestos, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608.