What Are Asbestos and Are They Hiding in Your Child’s School?

mesotheliomaWell over 30 million buildings in the United States contain asbestos products. This is a shockingly high number when considering the many health implications the material has been associated with.

Asbestos is most commonly used for insulation purposes and is now banned in over 50 countries, including all 28 countries of the European Union. However, the USA has not fully banned its use.

How would you know if asbestos is hiding in your child’s school?

Could Asbestos Affect My Child’s Future?

All parents want to see a bright future for their child. Perhaps you see them enrolling at a university or becoming a successful leader in a specific field.

Asbestos can put all of that at risk. It can cause a range of very serious breathing problems due to asbestosis. This is a condition where asbestos fibers are breathed in, damaging and scarring the lungs.

This can cause shortness of breath, persistent coughs, fatigue and chest pains. At the extreme end of the scale, people who have been exposed to asbestos may develop pleural mesothelioma, which is a form of cancer.

So if asbestos is lurking in your child’s school, it needs to be dealt with effectively and quickly.

Where might asbestos be found?

Asbestos is not as commonly used these days due to increasing awareness of the health issues it can cause.

However, particularly if your child’s school is an old building, asbestos may still be found within its walls.

It is sometimes found as insulation around pipes and boilers, and may also be found in floor and ceiling tiles. It could be used as cement for gutters, on roofing felt or within cavity walls.

How is it removed?

If the asbestos is in good condition, it does not necessarily need to be removed. It is generally only when it has been accidentally damaged or disturbed that it becomes a risk.

Of course, a strategy that played it safe would have it removed all the same, for fear of future damage or deterioration.

Asbestos is best removed by licensed professionals wearing protective clothing – ideally including full-face breathing apparatus.

Asbestos must be removed prior to the demolition of a building. Otherwise, the fibers won’t be contained and may be carried away by the wind. They may then be breathed in elsewhere.

When not done correctly, substantial asbestos debris can be left behind – putting people at risk. Never try to remove the material yourself.

Keeping your child safe

If you have concerns about asbestos in your child’s school, you should bring it up immediately with the principal. Or if you think there may be problems with multiple schools your children attend, you could bring it directly to the superintendent’s attention.

Rally the other parents to your cause and get the school to investigate properly, and take action if asbestos is found. Your child has the right to be safe at school – and if they aren’t, maybe they should be learning online instead.

It’s not just your child at risk – it’s everybody. It might not seem urgent, but a timely intervention could very well save lives.