Asbestos in Schools News for April 6th, 2009

In HUNTINGTON, WV, Friday, March 20, 2009, the students of Beverly Hills Middle School had an unexpected holiday after asbestos was discovered at their school the day before.
During renovations at the school, an asbestos leak was feared. The situation prompted the officials with Cabell County Schools to send the students home that day. Superintendent William Smith said in a statement to staff and parents, “Under federal safety guidelines, the area disturbed is so small we are only required to clean it. As a proactive measure, we’re sampling the air and closing the school Friday. We want to put the minds of those who work and study at Beverly Hills at ease.”

The areas in question were five holes a quarter inch in diameter each drilling into a ceiling containing asbestos. The area was less than three square feet, but the school decided to err on the side of caution and send the students home for the day in order to take samples of the air at the campus.

Tests later revealed that the air quality levels in the school were safe, and the students returned to classes the following Monday.

In ALBANY, NY, the Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology was scheduled to have new, asbestos-free floor tiles after a decision passed by the Albany Board of Education.

Renovations to the school were to take place during the 2008-2009 school year when the students were away from the building: at night and on weekends and holidays, but that plan was thwarted when asbestos was discovered in the ceiling tiles. This prompted the decision by the Board of Education to remove the floor tiles and replace them as well as remove the ceiling tiles. Since the area was more than 10 square feet, a licensed asbestos removal specialist was called in to remove the toxic tiles.

The 500 students were then relocated to the nearby Philip Schuyler Elementary School where they were to hold classes through December 2009.

In POTTSVILLE, PA the school board sent out a request to take bids on an asbestos removal contract to pull the asbestos from the insulation at D. H. H. Lengel Middle School.

The school’s insulation was a form that was blown into the space in the ceiling above the acoustical tiles. Like many of the insulating products used in the 1970s, Lengel Middle School had chrysotile asbestos in it. The amount was less than one percent of the total composition of the insulation material.

The school board noted that the asbestos had never caused air quality problems at the school. Studies have shown that exposure to asbestos is linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

To allocate funds in an appropriate manner, the school board laid out a plan for ceiling renovations and asbestos removal to take place over the summers for the next three years. The third floor was scheduled for the summer of 2009, the second for 2010’s summer holiday, and the first floor and outer buildings’ ceilings would be finished in 2011 over the summer.

The announcement for bids was made on March 18, 2009, but there was no notice of a deadline for the bids to be returned to the school board.