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Asbestos in Schools is a National Problem

Asbestos In Schools: The Need For Action

asbestos in schools Though it has been well established that asbestos is a dangerous, cancer-causing substance, this was not always the case. For a long period of time the fire and heat retardant material was a standard component in industrial and construction settings, providing effective and inexpensive insulation and fireproofing for buildings and boilers alike. You’d be hard-pressed to find a building constructed prior to the 1980s that did not include asbestos in one form or another, and that is particularly true of America’s schools where asbestos in schools is a national problem. Once the dangers of asbestos exposure became known, Congress passed the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, which required school personnel to inspect their surrounding on a regular basis and to train their maintenance and other staff to keep an eye out and use special procedures when approaching the deadly substance. Unfortunately, a recent report has shown that very few schools across the country are paying attention to this law, and as a result teachers and students alike are at constant risk of exposure that could cause malignant mesothelioma years down the road.

A federal inquiry was conducted in 2015, asking states to gather information from their schools as to how much asbestos was still in place and what action was being taken to monitor it. The investigation was led by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat. Their report was titled, “Failing the Grade: Asbestos in America’s Schools,” and what it found is particularly alarming: very few state officials have any knowledge about how much asbestos is present in their schools, and that what action is being taken to monitor or remove it is “woefully insufficient.” The senators were particularly alarmed by the lack of response to their inquiry: only twenty states responded to their survey. Of those, two thirds of the districts had schools that indicated that asbestos was still present in the buildings. Digging deeper, they found that of those that knew asbestos was there, less than 8 percent were regularly inspecting it to determine whether it posed a threat.

Said Senator Markey, who Is pushing for information to be made available to the public about asbestos-contaminated school buildings, “When it comes to asbestos in our schools, we know too little, but what we do know indicates we have a widespread problem in addressing this toxic threat, both in Massachusetts and across the country. Decades of inaction have put students and teachers at risk of asbestos exposure.”  Disinterest and apathy about the presence of asbestos is nothing new – in fact, it is the story behind far too many cases of malignant mesothelioma. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to compensation from those who did not take action to protect you. Call 1-800-692-8608 Danziger & De Llano today to set up a free consultation and learn more about your rights.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an experienced blog writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of expertise include health, medical research, and law.

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