Last fall, this story, involving the potential contamination of schools in Huntington Beach, caused much concern among parents, worried their children may have been exposed to asbestos in some of the elementary schools where modernization work was being done.
The asbestos tests of these schools will be released within the next two or three weeks according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The tests were done to ensure that any asbestos that was released during the shoddy removal of roofing tiles in the elementary schools has, in fact, been properly cleaned up.
Even if the tests prove satisfactory, the incident has been troubling for the families of the 1,600 children whose schooling was disrupted by the revelations of the potential asbestos contamination of their schools.
It is also troubling for the school district, as the asbestos cleanup will have contributed to a now $7.8 million shortfall for their budget.
What is equally troubling is that the taxpayers will be stuck with this charge, not the companies that sold the asbestos-contaminated building materials. They banked their profit and happily went on with their business.
One of the nasty aspects of the shameful legacy of asbestos in the U.S. is that it is now considered normal and, in fact, required by law, that owners hire expensive asbestos abatement contractors anytime modifications, renovations or demolition could disturb asbestos-contaminated materials in older buildings.
This is treated as “normal.” As if there had been no other way to build these structures, except with asbestos material. Of course, that is a lie. These companies touted the benefits of asbestos and pushed these materials into the market, long after it was clear that this material would become a time bomb in every building where it was used.
These companies knew they were selling a deadly and toxic substance, and they did it regardless of the pain, suffering and death that would follow. After all, they were making a profit.
Hbindependent.com, “Air official: School asbestos test results expected in 2-3 weeks,” Nicole Knight Shine, January 15, 2015