The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started a 10-year campaign to ban asbestos, starting in 1980. Despite their best efforts, EPA was unsuccessful in eliminating this deadly substance from buildings across the country. Because of the lasting consequences that asbestos can inflict on people, it is important to know that asbestos can still be found in high-risk areas, like schools.
How prevalent is asbestos?
Many people consider asbestos a problem of the past, mostly because manufacturers commonly used it for many products before the 1980s. The issue is that, although the majority of asbestos use has stopped in our country, it is still present in many older buildings, including schools that were built before the EPA began putting a stop to most asbestos usage.
Back in 1984, the EPA noted that millions of students and teachers likely encountered asbestos, which means that millions of more people may have contracted asbestos illnesses in the following decades.
How much of a risk is asbestos in schools now?
Since 1986, the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, or AHERA, has enforced policies that schools must regularly check their facilities to confirm if there are any signs of asbestos. Despite these regular checks every three years, it is still possible for asbestos to longer in schools.
School management that decides to cut corners or protect their budget by neglecting to inspect their property endanger anyone that walks onto the property for the sake of saving a few dollars.
When schools follow the AHERA and find asbestos, they can explore several options to deal with it. Repairing or replacing any asbestos-laden material, sealing it to prevent the spread of any fibers, and enclosing it away from possible exposure are all viable methods of protecting anyone who attends the school.
Despite the efforts to control any asbestos in schools, workplaces, and homes, only a nationwide ban of asbestos followed by complete removal of the substance across the nation can protect future generations from further asbestos-related illness.