Active high school found to have asbestos in the ceilings

While the following story did not occur here in North Carolina, the issues that it raises regarding asbestos are important for anyone in any state.

A high school in Minnesota was recently inspected and found to have asbestos in some of the ceilings. Even though the school is inspected every six months for a “general inspection,” the more detailed and thorough inspections the school goes through only happen once every three years. It was during one of these triennial inspections that the asbestos was found in the high school, in numerous locations.

The school district decided to go forward with an asbestos-removal project during the summer to avoid disrupting the school year, and it should be complete before the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. The project is expected to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million (the estimates run from $820,000 to $1.3 billion).

This story raises a couple of interesting questions, the most obvious of which is “why didn’t inspectors find the asbestos in previous visits?” Were the inspections poorly done? These are young kids we are talking about — and their exposure to asbestos could forever change their lives down the line.

Still, even if the asbestos was simply missed by inspectors, this story shows just how sneaky the substance is. Asbestos was used during the construction of hundreds of thousands of buildings many years ago. Some of these buildings are known, while others are not. Properly identifying — and then properly removing — the substance is crucial to prevent people from painfully suffering asbestos-related conditions.

Source: St. Cloud Times, “District to begin removal of asbestos in Tech High School,” Matt Dotray, Nov. 16, 2013