Decades after it was proven to be a health hazard, asbestos persists in school buildings across the county. As a result, exposure to asbestos remains a concern for many parents and school staff.
In North Carolina’s Guilford County school district, work to remove asbestos is underway or planned for 30 buildings, according to the local news site News & Record. One of the sites is the Allen Middle School, where a recent renovation revealed the presence of the toxic material in old carpet adhesive and floor tiles.
The district has 91 school buildings and 11 administrative office buildings that contain asbestos. Thirty of those buildings have not been renovated in decades, according to the school district.
Durable, fireproof, and widely available, asbestos was used in many building products that needed to last. However, airborne asbestos fibers may be deadly when they are inhaled. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma, a rare but incurable cancer.
According to the News & Record, the school district had done little to inform the community or parents of the asbestos abatement work. Due to the serious health risks associated with asbestos, parents and community members are understandably upset by what they see as a lack of communication about the plan from the school district.
The federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires schools to regularly inspect schools buildings for asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), and maintain a plan for containing or removing asbestos. Parents, teachers, and other school staff concerned about asbestos exposure have the right to view a copy of the plan.
However, AHERA does not require immediate removal of asbestos-containing products unless they are damaged or will be disturbed by a renovation or demolition project.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact Sokolove Law today to see if an asbestos attorney can help you.