This fall, there was news that a school district in Huntington Beach, California had been involved in potentially dangerous asbestos abatement at their facilities, with some of the potentially dangerous actions being carried out while students may have been in the buildings.
In that case, parents found out and quickly forced the district to move children out of the buildings and begin proper asbestos abatement and cleanup of the facilities. From Michigan last week a report of a similar incident, only in this case, the district reprimanded and laid off a janitor who complained about the unsafe work conditions. They also appear to have forged a report that claimed there was no asbestos in the buildings.
The inspector who was the supposed author of the report stated he had never inspected the school buildings in question and never issued any report clearing them of asbestos contamination.
The problem occurred when the district ordered its janitors to strip wax from floor tiles that contained asbestos. According to the janitor, during the sanding process, it looked like a “flour fight” and the airborne dust left a gritty feeling in her mouth and collected on her eyelashes.
Sanding and drilling are two things that should never be done with a material containing asbestos, as those activities can release the asbestos fibers and allow them to become airborne, where they can be inhaled by anyone in the vicinity.
Some students were present in the building during the summer when the work was being done, and potentially could have inhaled asbestos-contaminate dust.
The district is hiding behind statements like “there’s been nothing proven.” For any workers or students who were exposed, the proof could come 20 years from now, when they develop mesothelioma.
Detroit Free Press, “Suit alleges asbestos cover-up at Dearborn Heights schools,” Paul Egan, December 1, 2014