What is it?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material.
Where can you find it?
Asbestos is known as the “mineral of a thousand uses”. Many of its natural properties have proven to be extremely useful as an additive to many construction, industry, automotive, and consumer products. The use of asbestos in the U.S. has been so wide spread that almost all of us have some degree of exposure.
Do we have asbestos in schools?
Yes, some schools do have asbestos containing construction material.
How is it regulated in schools?
Congress passed the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) in 1986. The Act required the EPA to develop regulations creating a comprehensive framework for dealing with asbestos in public and private schools.
Friable – Asbestos is most hazardous when it is friable – easily crumbled and reduced to a powder by simple hand pressure.
Non-Friable – Material when dry may not be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure.
When is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos becomes a health hazard when it becomes friable and its microscopic fibers go airborne and are inhaled. Long term exposure to asbestos fibers in the lungs can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
How do we manage it?
When the opportunity presents itself, we remove asbestos from the schools. During the bond work, the district spent millions of dollars on asbestos abatement. While we still do have asbestos in some schools, it has been rendered safe via containment and/or encapsulation.
We have trained staff on the facilities team that manage it safely and proactively. We maintain an Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) for all sites containing asbestos. A periodic surveillance of asbestos-containing materials is performed in all district buildings that contain asbestos every six months, and a complete re-inspection of all buildings is conducted every three years. This is done to ensure that asbestos-containing materials are maintained in good condition and remain safe for the building occupants.