Asbestos in schools: what you need to know

Asbestos in schools is a big problem. Often the asbestos is in very accessible places. Sadly, often schools don’t even take care of the asbestos properly. What do you need to know about asbestos in schools?
There is data that people who used to be teachers are five times as likely to have and die from mesothelioma compared to the regular population. Mesothelioma is almost solely caused by asbestos exposure. Because of that it is quite simple to find the culprit – asbestos. But asbestos causes other diseases too. Some estimate that for every mesothelioma death, there is one death from asbestos-related cancer. Others estimate there are twice as many deaths from asbestos-related cancer as from mesothelioma. It is harder to calculate the number of deaths from asbestos-related cancer though because there isn’t a sole cause as there is with mesothelioma. How does asbestos do its damage? When disturbed, tiny fibers get released into the air. When breathed in, these fibers stay in the lungs. Decades later, the asbestos in the lungs causes cancer and respiratory diseases. In the United Kingdom there have been at least 305 deaths of teachers from mesothelioma. Sadly, there are no mortality figures for children who were exposed to asbestos in their school. But if the number was kept count of, it would probably be exceptionally high. This is the case for a number of reasons. Children have an immune system that is not as strong as adults. The respiratory of children is also different than that of adults. Because children have a longer life expectancy than adults, there is a longer time that they can be exposed to asbestos. Some estimates say children may be five times as likely to have mesothelioma than adults under the same circumstances. What needs to be done about this big problem of asbestos in schools? Managers of the schools need to run asbestos risk assessments. After the assessment the managers should continue checking up on the asbestos, checking on its state. When necessary the asbestos should be removed. Sealing in the asbestos is also an option. But it is not a permanent fix. Buildings wear down over time and that releases asbestos fibers into the air. A study from the 1980s shows that even when the location with asbestos looks well maintained, it may be releasing asbestos fibers at very high levels. The only feasible option is for all asbestos to be removed in all schools. Removing asbestos from all schools is very, very expensive. Also it requires very careful planning. But the economic cost of asbestos related disease is much higher. But high quality removal is necessary. Encasing asbestos releases a lot less fibers than poor quality removal, and therefore is a lot safer. Asbestos management in schools seems like it will continue to be a big problem. The only good, permanent solution is high quality removal. Have asbestos in your home or building? Call us today at (313) 437-4530 for a free quote for removal and testing.

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