Alaska teachers live in school due to asbestos in housing

Two teachers in Akhiok, Alaska, have been forced to live in the school at which they teach due to poor heating and potential asbestos exposure they could face if they stay in the homes provided to them by the Kodiak Island Borough.

According to the Kodiak Island Borough School District director of operations, Scott Williams, the teachers had suffered from inadequate heating issues in the home, but the final straw that prompted their move was the discovery of a washing machine that was damaging a tile floor with its vibration. Many other tiles in the house contain asbestos, and it is believed that these may, too, so teachers Scott and Janine Holmes were asked to move. 

"[A person exposed to asbestos] could develop asbestosis 20 years from now – nothing immediate. It’s not a respiratory issue for today. It’s something that could be problematic in the future," Williams explained, adding that it is not yet clear when it will be safe for the family to move back into their home. The possibility of abating the interior and exterior of the house has been considered, as well as the possibility of providing wax to seal the floor and thereby prevent the asbestos exposure. 

"We’re never going to pretend it’s ideal," he said.

Many people who develop asbestosis or malignant mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure contact asbestos law firms to see if any legal action can be taken.