The strict guidelines that are in place for the correct way to remove asbestos from buildings have the specific purpose of guarding against the risk of asbestos-related diseases like malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis. But when those rules are not followed, both workers and anybody onsite can breathe in the carcinogenic fibers and introduce the risk of illness in the future. This is exactly what New Orleans-area parents are concerned about after having learned that contractors doing asbestos removal in their children’s school made several errors and may have contaminated both the school building and the yard.
Mesothelioma is very much on the mind of parents at Lafayette Academy Charter School. They know that asbestos is behind the disease, and as of last week they learned that their children may have been exposed to the toxic mineral during the 2016-2017 school year, the the school had asbestos removal work done. Their concerns are even greater upon learning that similar work was done at the school during this past summer. Though school authorities from both the Recovery School District and representatives from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality told parents that asbestos levels during Spring of 2017 were consistently safe, a state inspector reported that some children were in the building during some of the work, and some had even stuck their heads into areas that were supposed to be secured and contained. There were also reports that workers came and went without changing out of their work clothes or shoes, potentially tracking the carcinogen into areas of the school building and onto the grounds. The asbestos-contaminated material also wasn’t wet down, a step that is taken to cut down on dust. In addition to problems with the original work, similar issues arose during this past summer.
Parents are asking officials about the possibility of testing both teachers and students for risk of mesothelioma, and are requesting a list of anybody that “may have been exposed.”
Many school buildings across the United States were built with asbestos, and the material remains in place in most of them. It is considered safe as long as it isn’t disturbed, but once it begins to deteriorate or is disturbed, the particles can become airborne and, once inhaled, can lead to mesothelioma. One parent said he’s worried about his daughter’s health, and he asked why officials didn’t test teachers and students. He said Lafayette should build a list of everybody who visited the school during that work and give them each documentation indicating “they may have been exposed.”
If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos, you may be at risk for mesothelioma. If you need information or resources on the disease, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.