Uxbridge, MA – A middle school was closed on Tuesday after deadly asbestos was discovered at the parking lot.
Pat Rocheleau, the grandparent of a McCloskey Middle School student, said he likes to believe that the students go to their school in an absolutely safe atmosphere.
Kevin Carney, the superintendent of Uxbridge Schools, said flooring was taken off from the building over the summer. Test results returned positive for the presence of asbestos on Monday. Asbestos exposure can be deadly because it can cause terminal diseases including mesothelioma, pleural plaques, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
Carney said everyone should cautiously hopeful that they were going to deal with that properly. He said the building was tested on Monday and the air quality levels were found safe. Carney said crews cleaned up the affected areas on Tuesday and additional testing will be conducted on Wednesday in order to ensure the safety. He said they’ll have to close down the school again if the lab results come positive for asbestos, Carney said.
The school building is at least 75 years old. Carney said the presence of asbestos in such old buildings is not uncommon because asbestos was a popular construction material before the 1980s.
Asbestos products should be handled with extreme care because asbestos fibers can become airborne if they are disturbed or broken, Carney said. He said they were working with independent contractors and state agencies to fix the issue.
Some parents were concerned about sending the students back to the school while some others were optimistic that there was nothing to worry about.
One of the main concerns of American parents is the presence of dangerous asbestos present the school buildings across the United States. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, asbestos products are there in most of the nation’s nearly 132,000 school buildings that serve at least 55M children. Additionally, 7 million or more teachers, support staff and administrators work in these buildings.
Some of the school buildings in the U.S. are as old as 100 years. Until the 1980s, asbestos was an extensively used building material because the risks associated with asbestos exposure was not known then to everyone. If the school buildings are not comparatively new, it’s almost definite that they contain quite a few asbestos products such as floor tiles, cement, pipe covering, insulation etc. Asbestos exposure is linked to fatal diseases such as cancer and asbestosis.