Last century witnessed a tremendous growth in the number of schools built in California and across the United States. From elementary schools to the construction of institutions of higher learning, as the population grew, so grew the demand for schools to educate that population.
Unfortunately, along with that growth in the number of schools, which the country can be justly proud of, there is something that few would be proud to acknowledge. Most, if not all, of those buildings contain asbestos.
The period of growth after the Second World War also coincided with the vast use of asbestos in hundreds of applications in home and building construction. Asbestos was useful for its fireproofing and insulating properties and was very widely employed in the construction of homes, schools and businesses.
Most of those buildings are still in use today and the now-aging products, whether pipe insulation, air duct insulation or in-ceiling, floor tile and plaster used in walls, is becoming worn, or in the worst cases, friable. This means the substance that contains the asbestos is brittle and the asbestos fibers can easily break off and become airborne.
Apparently something like that has been found in a school building in Michigan, where Warriner Hall at Central Michigan University has been closed until further notice, as the school officials work to develop a plan to abate the asbestos lining the air ducts and pipes within the building.
Elevated amounts of asbestos were found in air samples after work had been done in the crawl spaces where the some of the asbestos materials are located.
One hopes that the asbestos detected had only been released due to the recent work and not that it has been slowly being distributed by the air currents in that area, as that could have allowed hundreds of people over many years to be exposed.
Source: mlive.com, “Asbestos discovery closes Central Michigan University building,” Heather Jordan, June 2, 2015