Asbestos removal occurred while children were in schools

In the U.S., in many communities, you can find a great variety of building styles and ages. In California, however, there tend to be fewer older buildings than in some eastern states.

While California has a few remaining missions that date from the period of early Spanish settlement, and a few cities, like San Francisco that have a few historic buildings, the vast bulk of the state’s building were put in place during the great post-war growth period, when California overtook New York to become the most populous state.

It is unfortunate that the period coincided with the period when asbestos was most common in building material. And as California’s population exploded, so too did its population of school-age children. California built thousands of schools during this period.

And now, as they have aged, they need repairs and renovations. With that work often comes the disclosure that the floor tiles, the pipe insulation, the ceiling tiles and roofing materials all may contain asbestos.

Huntington Beach and the Ocean View School District have been rocked with revelations that some asbestos abatement work that was supposed to have occurred during the summer was ongoing when students were in the buildings.

On Friday, almost 40 percent of students stayed home from one of the schools, as parents demanded answers from the school district.

During the summer, one complaint was filed reporting that roofing materials were being torn off the roof and slid down into open dumpsters, which could have allowed asbestos fibers to spread across a wide area of the school grounds.

Parent’s concerns are well-founded. Children inhaling asbestos fibers would never know they had a problem until 20 or 30 years had passed. Had this work continued, they could develop mesothelioma and would always wonder how they had been unlucky enough to contract the disease.