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Parents in Louisiana are panic-stricken over reports that asbestos removal projects in Lafayette Academy Charter School could have been compromised – potentially resulting in dangerous exposure for many young children. The most recent project occurred while the school was closed for the summer. Before that, however, work was completed during the 2016-17 school year.

It was while the contractors were working during the school year that parents worry their children might have been exposed to asbestos fibers.

During the school year, the work was contained to four empty classrooms on an upper floor of the building. According to one report, containment procedures were often broken by workers. “Workers were seen walking in and out of the containment area without changing clothing, eating lunch and walking around the campus in the same clothes,” the report states. Additionally, it was noted there were holes in the plastic protective material that stops asbestos from spreading during removal. Students were seen roaming the halls outside of one unsecured area and “multiple children were observed sticking their heads” through an opening in the protective sheet to watch the ongoing work.

While it might be difficult to detect the disease so soon after limited exposure, parents worry that children might ultimately develop mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer generally caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers.