Philadelphia is one of the country’s leading cities, but right now it is grappling with how to address the very real risk of malignant mesothelioma for many of its public school teachers and students. According to a shocking report published in the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer, several of the city’s public school buildings are so heavily contaminated by asbestos that dust wipe samples collected by volunteers revealed amounts up to 50 times higher than the highest result found near Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and the single proven source of malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that forms after the mineral’s fibers are ingested or inhaled. Studies have shown that the risk of developing mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos is tied to both the concentration of the mineral to which a person has been exposed and the duration of the exposure: those who are exposed for a prolonged period of time are at higher risk. It is for this reason that most cases of the rare disease are diagnosed in those who have been exposed in occupational settings like construction yards, shipyards and factories that have been insulated with or worked on asbestos-contaminated materials. But few realize that America’s elementary and middle school teachers rank third in the nation in occupations at risk for dying of mesothelioma, and that is because so many of the school structures were built before the use of asbestos was curtailed in the mid-1970s. Now those school buildings are crumbling, and Philadelphia is just one example of a location where the problem is becoming overwhelming.
Though the Philadelphia school officials argue that their buildings do not pose a mesothelioma health risk and that there are flaws in the methodology used in collecting asbestos samples, they also know that they have a significant problem. Recent internal reports reveal that damaged asbestos tiles and insulation that were reported as high priority repairs have not been addressed, even though in some cases two years have gone by, and now the city’s 2017-2018 budget includes $5 million for asbestos remediation.
If you or someone you love has been affected by asbestos in the workplace or has been diagnosed with mesothelioma from any source, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.