Asbestos in Schools
As a professional asbestos abatement company, we often get called for asbestos in schools. In 2015, a study found that roughly 70% of schools were harboring asbestos (3,690 schools out of 5,309). We help schools identify asbestos and work with them for the removal of asbestos and to create an asbestos management plan.
Why is Asbestos Bad?
Asbestos is a natural mineral and carcinogen that is strong and resistant to heat and corrosion. Therefore, it was used as insulation and in building materials. In 1971, it was recognized as a hazardous air pollutant. When asbestos gets broken down, it turns into very small fibers. When disturbed, these fibers can stay airborne for a long period of time and often get breathed in and travel into a person’s lungs. The fibers are too small to see, taste, or feel, making them very dangerous. Asbestos is known to cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other serious diseases. No amount of asbestos is considered safe. Therefore, it is advised to never disturb materials that contain asbestos unless you are an asbestos abatement professional.
Why is There Asbestos Exposure in Schools?
Since asbestos wasn’t known to be a hazardous air pollutant before 1971, almost any school built before then used materials containing asbestos. Roughly 50% of schools in the USA were built between 1950 and 1971. Now that these schools are 50+ years old, this asbestos is breaking down and causing asbestos exposure in schools. It is important to identify and remove the asbestos.
When was Asbestos Banned in Schools?
Even though asbestos was labeled as a hazardous air pollutant in 1971, it wasn’t immediately banned. It was also banned based on the component that it was in. For example, the clean air act started in 1973, which is a federal law to protect the public from hazardous air pollutants. However, it wasn’t until 1978 that most material containing asbestos was banned. However, existing inventory could be used up to minimize economic hardship.
What Potentially Contains Asbestos in Schools?
When looking around in a classroom, it is easy to spot materials that potentially harbor asbestos. Common materials in schools that may contain asbestos are:
- Popcorn ceiling
- Heating and cooling duct work
- Vinyl flooring
- Cement sheets
- Ceiling tiles
- Boiler insulation
- Pipe wrap insulation
Asbestos in Piping Insulation
One of the most common asbestos-containing materials in schools is piping insulation. Piping insulation is used to protect pipes from heat loss and prevent water damage. It is commonly found in schools and municipalities, where it is used in heating and cooling systems, as well as in plumbing and water supply lines. However, many older schools and municipalities may still have asbestos-containing piping insulation, which can pose a serious health risk to students, teachers, and other building occupants.
Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)
Even though asbestos was banned in most materials in 1978, it wasn’t until 1986 that Congress passed the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). This aims to protect students and teachers from asbestos exposure in school buildings. It requires public and private schools to:
- Inspect their buildings every three years for possible asbestos-containing materials.
- Create and maintain an asbestos management plan.
- Designate and educate a person to oversee all asbestos-related activities.
- Perform appropriate actions to prevent and reduce asbestos hazards.
Unfortunately, AHERA doesn’t require schools to remove all asbestos as long as it is in good condition and poses a relatively low risk to students and school employees. Therefore, a proper in-depth asbestos evaluation by a professional is needed. They will determine if the risk is minimal or if they advise for the removal of asbestos-containing material or to properly maintain it to prevent disturbing it.
Asbestos Management Plan for Schools
A school must keep a record of all known asbestos in the building. In addition to this, the asbestos management plan should provide all historical work that was done to identify, maintain, or remove the asbestos-containing material. Once asbestos is identified, the plan needs to be followed for inspections, re-inspections, maintenance, preventive measures, and how they plan to inform workers, students, and families.
Asbestos Removal in Schools
Midwest Asbestos Abatement Contractor is fully licensed with the MN Department of Health for asbestos abatement. We are trusted, experienced, reliable, and fully insured to identify, maintain, and remove asbestos-containing materials. We often work with schools on their three-year inspections and management plans. Contact us today for your asbestos in schools concerns!
What You Can Expect From Us
Trusted & Experienced
Reliable & Fully Insured
M.A.A.C. is fully licensed with the MN Department of Health,
license AC 162 Asbestos Contractor License.
“We would like to take this opportunity to commend your company and crew for a timely and professional job. This project was under a tremendous time restraint and your crew more than met the challenge. Again we thank you for a project well done and hope to work with you more in the future.“
“We at the Alexandria AmericInn would like to take the time to thank you for letting us be of service to your crews while they are in the Alexandria area. We have had the same group of gentlemen here for the past few months and they are a pleasure to have with us and they represent your company wonderful. We look forward to being of service for the next few weeks that the crew is here and we hope to be of service to your company in the future.“