Like most children, your kids probably spend the majority of their time at school. When they are at school, they are completely out of your supervision and protection. Do you know what they might be breathing in while at school? Some children may still be exposed to asbestos in the halls of their school, which can cause a wide variety of health problems, ranging from mesothelioma to asbestosis. Here are five myths you might still believe about asbestos in schools:
1. Asbestos is no longer a real problem. Ten to fifteen years ago, asbestos was a huge problem in schools. It was being talked about on the news, school systems paid out tens of thousands of dollars to have the issue remediated, and then everyone stopped talking about it. The truth is that in many areas, the problem was never properly dealt with and many schools are still contaminated by asbestos.
2. Only the people who built the school need to worry about asbestos. One of the reasons that many schools did not feel like they needed to remediate their asbestos issue was because it was sealed in the walls. While it is true that asbestos is not harmful if it is properly sealed in the walls, this is just not the case, especially in older schools.
3. Even if the school is contaminated, it is not at a high enough level to worry about. Some parents make the mistake of thinking that there is a safe level of asbestos exposure, when the opposite is actually true. Even just one fiber can cause dangerous, devastating diseases later in life.
4. The government will make sure the school is safe. While there are government organizations in place to deal with asbestos, they are mostly concerned with workplace safety, not with schools. The EPA requires schools to inspect their premises every three years and to make an asbestos management plan, but there is very little funding for these inspections and plans.
5. Only insulation contains asbestos. You might think your child is safe because only the insulation inside the walls of the school contain asbestos—this is not true. The flooring, seals of doors, and even crayons and other toys might be contaminated with this dangerous material. Even new materials could still have been accidentally contaminated.