Many people often consider a school to be among the safest places for young people to be. We generally expect that these buildings are built and maintained properly by people who understand how important it is to protect the health and wellbeing of young children and staff members inside. However, a recent discovery in a school shows just how dangerous these buildings can be if they are not maintained appropriately.
Asbestos was recently found in a school that was immediately sealed off after the discovery. Many buildings contain asbestos, but as long as the fiber is undisturbed, the threat of dangerous exposure remains relatively low. But at this school, the asbestos in a basement area had been disturbed, releasing it into the air. Nearly every room in the building tested positively for unsafe levels of asbestos.
When asbestos is kicked up, the dust can travel very easily to other parts of a building. In some cases, the dust is transported from one site to another on a person’s clothing. This means that the spread of asbestos dust can be quick and simple, putting many unsuspecting people in danger.
In this case, the asbestos may have affected hundreds of people in the school. Even though it is summer, there were 200 students, employees and teachers in the building attending a summer program that was being offered. Each of these people may have been exposed to the airborne asbestos. Some of them may have even brought it home to their families.
Property and building owners have a responsibility to make sure that premises are safe for visitors and residents, and this includes properly dealing with any asbestos on the site. Too often, steps to remove asbestos are only taken after the threat of exposure has already been realized. In these cases, people who develop asbestos-related illnesses can work with an attorney to determine if negligence or recklessness on the part of a property owner contributed to the exposure and can then hold them accountable.
Source: Press Connects, “More details on Coolidge asbestos recovery expected this week,” Meghin Delaney, Aug. 18, 2013