Students at West Haven, Connecticut’s West Haven High School have been learning about asbestos and malignant mesothelioma, but it’s not because it’s on the curriculum. The subject has become a point of significant concern for the community following repeated episodes of potential asbestos exposure in the school building while students have been present, and parents are considering taking legal action to protect their kids. According to Christine Barrington, whose son is one of 1,500 students who attend the school, an entire wing of the school is currently wrapped in a tarp in anticipation of a two-month asbestos removal program starting soon, despite the fact that state regulations specifically indicate that no such work should be done while students are present.
It is fear of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases that created that regulation in the first place, but local officials received a waiver in order to begin the work sooner while school is in session, and parents like Barrington are not happy. “It’s very concerning for me,” she said. “I’m asking for them not to abate asbestos at all while students are in session.”
Last May of this year is the first time that mesothelioma concerns were raised. At that time, a project to install 100 new surveillance cameras was completed without any type of oversight, despite the knowledge that asbestos was present in the building. Asbestos is present in many schools throughout the United States, and is generally considered safe unless it is disturbed. Parents were extremely worried that the lack of an Asbestos Management Planner during the project put their children at risk, and now they are worried again. Barrington points out that there hasn’t even been a discussion of shifting the work to hours when students aren’t present to minimize the risk, and that no warning signs have been erected either.
Exposure to asbestos from a construction project is just one of many ways that carcinogenic fibers can be inhaled or ingested, raising the risk of being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. The law provides protection against exposure, as well as remedies for those for whom exposure has already taken place and who have been sickened as a result. For information on your rights, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.