Binghamton, New York – Students of Calvin Coolidge Elementary in Binghamton are back in school after the school was closed by the end of summer following the discovery of asbestos. Monday (2nd December, 2012) was their 1st day back this school year.
Asbestos was found in a crawl space in summer, so pupils were spread across 5 other locations. However, staff members say everybody is delighted to be back in the school.
Mary K Ryan, the principal of Calvin Coolidge Elementary, said it seems like a Christmas morning as the students were highly excited to be back in their school.
According to Ryan some books and some other substances had to be destroyed as they could not be cleaned. She said the district was in the effort of replacing the items.
Asbestos exposure is typically associated with factory employees, construction workers and miners. Many former workers and miners are now suffering from asbestos-related illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis because of their exposure to asbestos fibres that took place several decades back. Asbestos is now a highly restricted and regulated material in the United States. However, it still remains a problem because a significant number of buildings across the nation still contain the dangerous, cancer-causing mineral. Many individuals are getting exposed to the toxic material on a regular basis.
One of the major problems now is the presence of asbestos in many of the schools in the United States. School buildings that were constructed prior to the 1980s used asbestos products extensively for insulation and other purposes because the problems associated with asbestos exposure was not fully known then. Newly constructed buildings do not contain asbestos as the hazards of asbestos exposure is known now and the federal government agencies such as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Health & Safety Association (OSHA) has started regulating the material strictly. But many of the older school buildings still contain asbestos.
Though many of our schools have replaced asbestos with safer alternatives, others still require attention. With funding issues all through several cities and the extremely high cost of authorized asbestos abatement companies specializing in proper removal of asbestos, many cities find it hard to meet all the safety requirements. The EPA has placed several safeguards for ensuring that the school buildings containing asbestos don’t cause any hazard. However, many schools in the nation are just passed by and others have to wait for a long period of time to ultimately get these improvements.