Across the country, our nation’s school districts are faced with limited funding for safety inspections meant to detect the presence of asbestos, the only established cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive and fatal cancer. Schools used to be reimbursed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cover the cost of asbestos inspections. Now that EPA funding has been cut off, many schools have let safety inspections slide.
Two U.S. Senators, Barbara Boxer of California and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, released a December 2015 report on the subject, “Failing the Grade: Asbestos in America’s Schools.” The report found that although two-thirds of responding school districts have asbestos-contaminated schools, asbestos removal and monitoring efforts by the states are considerably lacking. Less than 10 percent of schools are inspected on a regular basis for asbestos hazards.
To address the problem, Senator Markey reportedly has proposed legislation that would provide the public with more information about buildings that contain asbestos.
Massachusetts Schools Lack Funding for Proper Asbestos Inspections, Training and Removal
Massachusetts is just one state struggling to find a way to keep students and teachers safe from asbestos building materials used in older schools. Over the last six years, funding for asbestos inspections in Massachusetts schools has fallen more than 20 percent. The state plans to inspect no more than 40 schools a year. As a result, teachers and students are placed at risk for asbestos exposure. A few of the reported incidents involving asbestos in Massachusetts schools include the following:
- The McCloskey Middle School in Uxbridge was cited for the improper removal and disposal of asbestos floor tiles left in a school dumpster for weeks. The incident contaminated the entire school building.
- The Hadley Elementary School in Swampscott was cited with 18 violations when school officials neglected to inform a plumber making repairs about the presence of asbestos. Asbestos-containing plaster in a water-damaged ceiling contaminated four classrooms, requiring a school closure.
- The Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich was cited for 11 violations three years ago when a teacher and students used shovels to chip apart asbestos-contaminated flooring in a school building.
- The Gates Intermediate School in Scituate has received multiple citations for asbestos violations, including the failure to conduct inspections or to train staff in how to do the asbestos Since 2012, the necessary asbestos training and repairs have cost the school tens of thousands of dollars.
Massachusetts officials say they have no estimate of the number of schools that contain asbestos building materials or that are in compliance with applicable asbestos safety laws and regulations.
Contact Waters Kraus & Paul to Learn More About Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
If you (or a loved one) have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact us by email or call us at 800.226.9880 to speak with our asbestos lawyers, like Scott Kruka and Walker Humphrey in our Dallas office, to learn more about how we can assist you and your family with a mesothelioma lawsuit.