May Whitney School is going to be tested for hazardous asbestos. Two inspectors will examine the elementary school after the Lake Zurich School District (Community Unit) 95 board decided to respond to the concerns raised by one of the members regarding former inspections.
Eileen Maloney, one of the board members, wished to hire another inspector for replacing Asbestos Inspection & Management, an Elk Grove (Sacramento County, California)-based company that has been doing such works for the school district since year 1991. However, the other board members determined to go with 2 sets of eyes for the asbestos inspectors which are needed at the school building twice every year due to its age as well as presence of dangerous asbestos.
It is an undisputed reality that asbestos can cause deadly diseases such as malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural plaques, and several other severe health issues. However, still it is quite common to see asbestos in schools, homes, hospitals and many other buildings, especially if these buildings are old (constructed before 1980s).
Asbestos is found in an extensive range of construction materials. For instance, floor tiles, piping insulation, wall plaster, ceiling tiles, cement, joining compounds, and automotive brakes and clutches etc. The material was also used in many other materials. Such asbestos-containing materials can be found in school buildings as well.
Experts say undisturbed ACMs (Asbestos-Containing Materials) don’t generally pose any health risk. But, when asbestos materials are disturbed or damaged, they emit asbestos fibres into the surroundings. When asbestos fibers are airborne, they do pose a high health risk because these fibers become easily inhalable then. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can result in mesothelioma, asbestosis, and / or lung cancer.
For protecting children from being exposed to asbestos and materials containing asbestos, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was asked by the AHERA (Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act) in year 1986 to establish a program to manage the dangerous minerals present in school buildings.
AHERA requires all schools in the United States: to perform an inspection of asbestos and ACMs in school buildings and to repeat the inspection after every 3 years; to develop as well as maintain a management plan for asbestos and always keep a copy of it at the school; to notify the parent, staff and teachers regarding the asbestos management plan of the school and actions taken to remove asbestos present in the building; and train the custodial staff.