Chicago Public Schools behind in handling asbestos, study finds

5 Jun 2017 by under News

cpslogo v1 min 100x100 Chicago Public Schools behind in handling asbestos, study findsAsbestos management is mandated by federal law for all schools in the United States. The regulations require schools to identify asbestos and re-inspect asbestos containing material every three years to monitor that it is not at risk of becoming airborne. Federal law also requires schools to “develop, maintain and update” an asbestos management plan, which documents recommended asbestos response actions for the school, the location of asbestos in the school and any action to repair or remove it.

A new report from Unvision and the Social Justice News Nexus at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism found Public Schools (CPS) have fallen behind in removing or encapsulating asbestos in school buildings. “We were actually approached by parents who were concerned about their children’s safety in regards to asbestos,” Adriana Cardona-Maguigad of Unvision Chicago told WTTW. “The district has not followed up with the recommendations of the inspectors in terms of removing dangerous, high risk, friable asbestos.”

For example, the study found by 2015, CPS failed to remove or repair any of the asbestos inspectors found two years prior in three schools within the district. The study unsurprisingly determined the school districts in with more monetary resources were more likely to remove the asbestos from school buildings rather than try to repair or encapsulate it.

The journalists submitted Freedom of Information Act Requests and questions to CPS to determine why nothing was done about asbestos in certain schools but has not yet received any answers.

Asbestos can cause a variety of health problems, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that effects the lining of organs. Typically, asbestos-related diseases have long latency periods, meaning children exposed to asbestos in Chicago Public Schools will not know until decades later when they develop symptoms.


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