Environmental Exposure— Asbestos in Schools

Most people believe that asbestos was made illegal for use in schools and that all asbestos laced products were removed in the years following the enactment of the Asbestos Ban and Phase out Rule by the EPA in 1989. The rule has since been overturned by a court decision and asbestos is legal in smaller quantities. Schools may still have products containing asbestos on their grounds but such products are required to be managed pursuant to the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986. Some schools have chosen to remove all products that contain asbestos from their premises while others have chosen to “manage” them, which leads to possible hazards related to asbestos abatement.

Asbestos Management Plans

AHERA requires all schools to test the building for asbestos in the air and to make records available upon request that inform teachers and parents about the quantities of asbestos in their school as well as where it is located. The plans must include the date that the school was inspected and when officials plan to inspect the school again as well as all of the preventative measures that have been taken to ensure that the asbestos contained in products throughout the school does not reach the air that children and employees breathe. In addition to these requirements, school officials must provide their plans to concerned parents when asked and include the contact information of the person who is in charge of carrying out the plan to ensure the safety of the school’s students and staff.

The Abatement of Asbestos 

Unless asbestos fibers are inhaled, the material is not dangerous to human beings, which makes asbestos manageable so long as products containing the substance are not sawed, grinded or removed in a manner that creates asbestos dust. Another issue is the abatement of asbestos, which is when it begins to deteriorate and break down due to age. When products laced with asbestos break down they may contaminate the air in the vicinity, putting children and teachers in older school buildings at greater risk of exposure.

Abatement is the primary reason that school officials must inspect the premises regularly and inform parents who wish to have the information about the results of previous inspections and when the next inspection is scheduled. Teachers or children who have been exposed to asbestos may be entitled to compensation if they were not properly informed of the presence of asbestos in the building and they develop conditions such as asbestosis or mesothelioma as a result. Teachers are at a much higher risk of exposure than students, but repeated exposure to asbestos can cause health problems in children as many as thirty or forty years after they’ve been exposed.

Your Legal Rights As A School Teacher / Employee Exposed To Asbestos

If you have developed an asbestos related health condition and you believe that your employer is responsible, you should talk to a mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible to find out about your rights and the statute of limitations on your case. Chicago Mesothelioma Lawyers are knowledgeable and experienced with cases that involve asbestos exposure and may be able to help you collect the largest amount of compensation possible for your injuries. Contact us today at no risk to you and we will let you know more about your right to compensation and how we will handle your case so that you can focus on recovering from your illness while we handle litigation on your behalf. If the school you worked for is responsible for your cancer or asbestosis, we will make sure that everyone who is responsible is held accountable and that you collect the maximum amount in damages that you are entitled to under law.

Sources:

http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/ais20quests.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestos

Additional Resources: