EPA funds asbestos management efforts in New England schools

30 Jul 2018 by under News

EPA logo 100x100 EPA funds asbestos management efforts in New England schoolsFive New England states received a combined $631,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pay for activities designed to protect students, teachers, and others in school buildings from the health hazards of asbestos.

Each of the New England states (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont) will receive between $100,000 and $166,000 depending on the amount of work they have agreed to tackle.  The money will help to ensure schools take the steps to manage in accordance to the Hazard Emergency Response Act.

The Act requires public and private elementary and secondary schools be inspected for asbestos-containing materials, prepare management plans, and take actions to prevent or reduce asbestos hazards. Removal of asbestos is not usually necessary unless the material is severely damaged or will be disturbed during a building demolition or renovation project.

The grant money will also help educate teachers, parents and those who work within the school about the dangers of asbestos exposure, and cover the cost for audits to ensure asbestos professionals licensed by the state are complying with federal law. The funds will also help ensure that states maintain an asbestos accreditation and certification training program.

Asbestos is a fire-resistant fibrous mineral that was commonly used in building materials and insulation prior to 1980. Many older buildings, including schools, still contain asbestos products. Asbestos is most often found on pipes in the boiler rooms or in floor tiles. It is not considered a threat if left undisturbed. But if its microscopic fibers are damaged, they can float in the air for days and be inhaled or swallowed.

Asbestos exposure can cause serious health problems including the incurable lung disease asbestosis, lung cancer, and , a rare but deadly form of cancer that forms in the lining of the lungs and other internal organs.

It can take up to 50 years for mesothelioma to present after asbestos exposure. Once diagnosed, the disease usually proves deadly within 12 to 24 months.

EPA News Release
New Hampshire Public Radio

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