7 Steps to Protect Your Child from Asbestos Exposure at School
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that any school built before the 1980s likely contains some form of asbestos. Before scientists discovered the carcinogenic properties of this chemical compound, building materials containing asbestos were used to build classrooms, corridors, auditoriums, and other high-traffic spaces. But age naturally leads to wear and tear, which means that our children are constantly at risk of asbestos exposure.
Inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers can lead to serious health complications, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Unfortunately, the discernable symptoms of these conditions take decades to develop, and by then it’s far too late for the patient.
In 1986, Congress passed the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) to protect students and school employees from asbestos exposure. Per the law, school officials need to prepare asbestos management plans and inspect their facilities for asbestos-containing materials at least once every three years.
Are Children at a Higher Risk of Developing Mesothelioma?
It’s little known fact, but a teacher is twice as likely to die from an asbestos-related disease than the rest of the general U.S. population. Because they work in asbestos-filled buildings all day long, teachers are statistically just as likely to develop mesothelioma as construction workers and chemical plant employees. So, what does this mean for our children who work in the same spaces and breath the same air?
Children are particularly susceptible to asbestos exposure because they explore the world by touch and then put their contaminated fingers in their mouths. Ingesting asbestos fibers can lead to a fatal condition known as peritoneal mesothelioma. Also, because a child’s lungs are so small, they tend to breathe at a faster rate, increasing their likelihood of inhaling airborne asbestos fibers.
Education is the best way to protect your children from asbestos exposure. Follow these steps to help your child stay safe in their school environment:
- Tell your child what asbestos is and where it can be found.
- Explain that it’s safe to learn in old buildings, so long as construction isn’t in progress and the facilities are well-maintained.
- Warn your child to pay attention to any damaged walls where microscopic fibers could be released into the air.
- Research the back-to-school products you plan to buy for your child; asbestos has recently been found in crayons and Claire’s makeup.
- Investigate your child’s school and ask the administration if asbestos-containing building materials were used during the original construction process or any past renovations.
- Ask the administration about what steps they are taking to protect the students from asbestos exposure.
- Tell your children not to drink out of old water fountains because the pipes may contain asbestos.
Have You or a Loved One Developed an Asbestos-Related Disease?
Due to the pro-business mindset of the current administration, the United States is one of the few developed countries that hasn’t completely banned asbestos and asbestos products. If you or a loved one has developed an asbestos-related disease, contact the award-winning asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers at Shrader & Associates, L.L.P.
Contact Shrader & Associates, L.L.P.at (877) 958-7920 to schedule a free case evaluation.