Dozens of students may be at risk of mesothelioma and other illnesses after their exposure to asbestos while gutting a school building.
The Buckeye Education School in Berea, Ohio is now under criminal investigation, according to a recent story on local news station WKYC. Allegedly, the school allowed the students (who were as young as 13) to enter a former YWCA building in Middleburg Heights containing asbestos materials.
State regulations require building owners to use certified contractors to remove asbestos. Even short exposures to airborne asbestos fibers have been linked to deadly mesothelioma cancer. Asbestos is connected to other conditions, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and pleural thickening.
Following a complaint in early December, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began an investigation. Testing confirmed that asbestos was present in the floor tiles, pipes, and duct fabric inside the YWCA building.
A neighbor (who does asbestos abatement work) is concerned for the safety of the students. “The entire site was contaminated with asbestos and the people who were doing it were all children. The kids were loaded with it,” he said. Luckily for investigators, the neighbor caught the renovation work on video. The video footage shows the students and others removing debris from the building with buckets and a small front-end loader.
Ohio regulators say that there is no way to determine how much asbestos entered the students’ lungs. Health inspectors recommend that students and others log what they did at the site and for how long. They also suggest the students get chest X-rays.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, please contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.