University Of Maryland’s Asbestos Problem: 90 Buildings Still Contain The Dangerous Mineral

The University of Maryland (UM) in College Park, Maryland, constructed during a time when asbestos-containing materials were frequently used, has around 90 buildings on campus that still contain asbestos, despite numerous inquiries and complaints from parents.

Photo by Carmmichaelibrary/Wiki Images

Photo by Carmmichaelibrary/Wiki Images

UM’s student publication, Diamondback, reports that five of the 90 buildings infected with asbestos on campus are so dangerous that they’ve been blocked off completely from use. The other 85 buildings are still in use, and the asbestos is well-contained, according to the Director of Residential Facilities, Jon Dooley. However, parents are still concerned and call the school about asbestos issues, typically during the summer before their students move to dorms. Dooley assures parents that the dorms are safe.

“Every single residence hall is safe,” Dooley said. “We refer students to the residential facilities website if they have any questions about asbestos in their dorm.”

The majority of UM’s asbestos-containing building have the non-friable kind, meaning that exposure is minimal because the asbestos doesn’t crumble under pressure. However, the five buildings below contain friable asbestos and other hazardous materials which restrict any staff member or student from using them:

  • Engineering Lab Building
  • Reckord Armory
  • H.J. Patterson Hall
  • Mitchell Building
  • Francis Scott Key Hall

According to the school’s asbestos program manager, Jennifer Rous, asbestos removal has taken place over the past several years. A number of buildings have already been renovated and are now asbestos-free. Rous said there seems to be a “downward trend” as each year passes, and the amount asbestos being removed is declining.

“There is a downward trend in the general amount of asbestos being removed. Since no more was put into buildings after the 1980s, when you stop adding it and continue removing the material, it eventually is going to go away completely.”

“Going away completely” is what many parents are hoping for, but there is still no set date as to when the campus will finally be asbestos-free. Third party contractors take care of removing the asbestos, which is primarily done at night and on the weekends, when the risk of asbestos is lessened. According to contract construction supervisor, Julius Williams, the removal follows all federal standards and takes place inside a “negative pressure containment area.”

“These are the safest projects that anyone does because of the regulations and also because people are trained to remove asbestos safely…Our asbestos management program on campus is top notch. Our third party contractors, besides being trained specifically in asbestos removal, are collecting samples before, during and after asbestos removal projects in order to ensure the safety of workers, faculty and students on campus.”

This certainly sounds like refreshing news for parents and students alike, but it’s important to note that no amount of asbestos, no matter how small, is safe. Although people are less likely to develop an asbestos-related illness when being exposed to minute amounts, there is never a guarantee. Therefore, it’s crucial that students heed all warning signs around campus when asbestos removal is taking place. Parents also have the legal right to know ahead of time when any asbestos removal will occur at the school. According to the Environmental Health News,

“It doesn’t matter who you are – young or old, strong or frail, rich or poor, factory worker or CEO – if you inhale or ingest even one microscopic asbestos fiber, you’re at increased risk of developing a deadly disease whose symptoms may not show up for decades.”

In addition, teachers need to be especially careful, as history shows that they’re more prone to developing an asbestos illness when compared to students. For example, a 2007 study carried out by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) stated that teachers in the U.S. were more than twice as likely to die from asbestos disease when compared to the average American.

This information isn’t intended to scare students are parents, as most colleges do follow state and federal laws when it comes to asbestos containment. However, you should always be aware when asbestos work is being done and take special precautions to ensure minimal risk of exposure.

Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos-related cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more. 

‘Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2016’ Introduced By U.S. Senator

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, one of the strongest advocates for asbestos victims, introduced a new law that she’s hoping will be passed, which will help extradite the ban on asbestos use in the nation.

asbestos up close

The new act, entitled Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2016, would mandate that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop all manufacturing, use, processing, distribution (in commerce), and any disposal of asbestos. Should the act pass, the EPA must enforce the rules within 18 months of the bill’s enactment.

The act comes right on the heels of the  Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LSCA), which was passed by President Obama earlier this year. LSCA allows the EPA to have additional authority over evaluating harmful substances, and in turn, determining whether they should be banned indefinitely. Yet, with numerous substances on the list, there’s no guarantee as to when the EPA will get to asbestos, and there’s no word yet how the substances will be prioritized. The EPA has up to 12 years to evaluate the substances.

That’s where the Alan Reinstein Act comes in. It essentially ensures that the EPA will get to asbestos in a timely fashion. Since asbestos is still legal in the U.S., people continue to face exposure, and it’s something that asbestos awareness advocates feel that has to stop immediately. There is no safe level of asbestos. Although there are regulations on the amount of asbestos businesses can use, even a small amount can pose dangerous, life-threatening risks, such as developing mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer.

According to the non-profit organization, Asbestos Disease Awareness Group, asbestos is found in products that people use everyday, and the dangerous mineral doesn’t just affect people who work around it. Even certain brands of children’s toys and crayons still contain traces of asbestos.  ADAO President and Co-Founder Linda Reinstein issued the following statement:

“For forty years, TSCA has failed to protect American families from harmful and deadly toxins, including asbestos. Asbestos claims as many as 15,000 American lives annually. The current list of products containing asbestos is shocking and includes everything from construction materials and automobile parts to children’s toys. Most Americans cannot identify this nearly invisible lethal fiber nor manage the risk in our homes, schools, and workplaces.”

This isn’t the first time Senator Boxer pushed for an asbestos act. In 2015, she pushed for a different act, named after Reinstein’s late husband. Boxer and Reinstein didn’t give up, and they are hoping the new act will finally make a big enough impact that asbestos is banned in the U.S. for good.

“Please join me in thanking Senators Boxer and Tester, and in urging Congress to take this opportunity to show true dedication to protecting public health and our environment,” Reinstein said.

Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

South Dakota Schools May Have Asbestos In Drinking Water

A total of 23 schools in the Rapid City, South Dakota school district have asbestos within theirs walls, ceilings, and other areas. The district is now concerned that asbestos may possibly in the schools’ drinking water, as pipes were once coated with the mineral. In turn, the district ordered tests on all of the water fixtures in each building.

backpack on school bench

The Rapid City Journal reports that  Rapid City district spokesperson Katy Urban said the test is only routine, and since the water hasn’t been tested recently, they just want to ensure that there aren’t any dangers.

“The asbestos tests are routine and the water sampling is something we just feel we need to do because it’s been awhile. There wasn’t a specific incident that prompted the testing.”

The testing, which likely begin in November, will test the 23 schools’ water fountains, fixtures, pipes, and faucets. According to the manager of Rapid City School District’s buildings and grounds, Kip Clive, the water was tested for lead in 1988, and the results were favorable.

“I expect the test to come back very favorably given that we tested everything in 1988-89,” said Clive. “I would expect these tests to be very favorable. We just feel it’s pertinent to do a sampling.”

The asbestos testing is part of the requirements that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set forth for all public, non-profit, and charter schools in the nation, which requires that each school (determined to contain asbestos) must create, develop, and maintain an active asbestos plan at all times. Per the The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), schools must be regularly inspected for asbestos issues, and should an issue be found, a management plan should be readily available to take care of the problems.

Other AHERA requirements include:

  • Providing annual notifications to parents, teachers, and employee organizations regarding school’s asbestos management plan, including any actions schedule to take place
  • Routine surveillance of the areas in the school where there is known asbestos-containing materials
  • Designating a contact person who can oversee the management plan, answer questions, and ensure that the asbestos regulations are being properly implemented
  • Providing asbestos awareness and safety training to the custodial staff

The EPA reports that there is asbestos in most of the nation’s schools that were constructed prior to the early to mid-1980s. It was once commonly used in schools for insulation purposes, and for its resistance to heat and fire. It can be found all over schools, including in floor and ceiling tiles, roofs, furnace rooms, bathrooms, gyms, and more. Although there is no safe level of asbestos exposure, it poses minimal threat as long as its contained and not disturbed.

If asbestos is disturbed, however, tiny, odorless asbestos fibers can quickly permeate throughout the air, and students and staff can inhale the fibers without even knowing it. Asbestos exposure has been to life-threatening illnesses, such as malignant mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, and asbestosis.

The Facilities Committee urged the Rapid City School District to set aside $1 million annually, for the next five years, to take care of any asbestos issues within its schools. The following Rapid City schools have been confirmed to contain asbestos:

  • Canyon Lake West Elementary
  • Canyon Lake East Elementary
  • Grandview Elementary
  • Horace Mann Elementary
  • Knollwood Elementary
  • Meadowbrook Elementary
  • Pinedale Elementary
  • Rapid Valley Elementary
  • Robbinsdale Elementary
  • South Canyon Elementary
  • South Park Elementary
  • Woodrow Wilson Elementary
  • North Middle
  • South Middle
  • West Middle
  • Rapid City High, formerly Dakota Middle School
  • Central High
  • Stevens High
  • Jefferson Academy
  • Abraham Lincoln Academy

Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. If you need additional assistance or have questions, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.

Today Is Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Things You Can Do To Show Support

September 26 is Mesothelioma Awareness Day, marking the 12th year since it started in 2004. If you aren’t participating in in-person events, there is still a lot you can do to help spread awareness today.

Meso Day sign


According to Disabled World, “an awareness date is defined as a national or international awareness day, week, or month, and is a date usually set by a major organization or government, to commemorate medical research, or ethical cause of importance, on a national or international level.” Mesothelioma Awareness Day was founded by advocates and volunteers in 2004, and has since brought education and awareness to a disease that’s still a mystery to many.

Current Happenings on Asbestos in the U.S.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently working to get asbestos banned permanently in the U.S. Earlier this year, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which states that the EPA now has more power to study, detect, and ban harmful substances and chemicals that are currently legal in the U.S.

The EPA is required to select the first 22 chemicals for study by December, and numerous organizations and advocates are pushing for them to add asbestos to the top of the list. Putting asbestos on the top list of chemicals to review would be the first process in ultimately getting it banned. If banned, a number of companies that still use the deadly mineral in their products would be forced to stop using it.

California Sen. Barbara Boxer is hoping the EPA will start reviewing asbestos as soon as possible. She’s an advocate for its ban, and even wrote a letter to the EPA, encouraging them to place asbestos at the top of the review list, which would ultimately send messages out the businesses that the EPA is taking the new laws regarding dangerous seriously. Boxer wrote,

“The chemicals selected will drive EPA’s agenda for the next several years. To build confidence in the agency’s ability to deliver meaningful results for our children and families, EPA must consider all forms of asbestos in this initial list of chemicals it acts on.”

In the meantime, you can help. The following ideas are ways you can help show your support for mesothelioma awareness:

Wear Blue

Even if you don’t have a “Mesothelioma Awareness Day” shirt, you can still show your support today by wearing any blue-colored shirt.

Share on Social Media

To show support and awareness online, consider writing your own personal story, followed by the tag, #curemeso. You can also share pictures of yourself or loved ones wearing blue! Don’t forget to mention the importance of the community (as a whole) learning about mesothelioma.

Consider the things you wish people know about mesothelioma, and share it on social media. Although there numerous people and families affected by mesothelioma, the disease is still considered rare, and there is still a lot of confusion about it. For instance, you could share how asbestos is still legal in the U.S., or that people of any age are susceptible to developing an asbestos-related illness.


If you are planning to host an in-person community fundraiser, you can always donate to a non-profit asbestos awareness organization, such as the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, or the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF), also a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.

Another option, if you’re an Amazon customer, is to shop with AmazonSmile‘s asbestos awareness program, which donates  0.5% of your purchase price (on eligible purchases) to the charity of your choice. You can do this each time you shop on Amazon, regardless of the day.

Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540.

Asbestos Fibers Can Move In Soil, Per New Study

A recent study on asbestos shows that tiny asbestos fibers can move through soil and sand. The results of the new study may revolutionize the current strategies used to help prevent asbestos exposure.

Asbestos in soil

The study, led by geologist Jane Willenbring, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, started out by testing the current assumption that asbestos remains locked an unable to move once its buried and capped by soil.

Yes, another researcher in the study, Sanjay Mohanty, of the University of Pennsylvania, found that if organic acids cover asbestos, the fibers can make their through soil and sand, regardless if its been capped. According to Willenbring,

“This is something that can happen in soils, where you have organic acids that are created from plants, fungi and also bacteria. These organic acids can coat the outside of the fibers and actually change the mobility of the fibers.”

Willenberg also explained that study marks the first time that researchers actually put asbestos into soil to test it.

“They [environmentalists] find it in water, and they know where the asbestos is, so they can assume transport. But this is the first time anyone has put a known amount of asbestos in the top of a soil column and actually saw some asbestos coming out.”

The findings of the study were presented this year, in August, at the at the 2016 American Chemical Society meeting, held in Philadelphia. It was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Previously, scientists and researchers spent several years working on the lab part of the study, where they tried to determine if asbestos fibers were able to travel through sand. Their conclusion was that the fibers could not move through sand, but if the sand was coated with organic matter, such as humic or fulvic acid, the fibers could easily move through the sand columns. Willenbring said,

“We found that if we coated these fibers in organic acids, we could actually get the asbestos fibers to move through the soil.”

Apparently, the long, narrow fibers that aren’t tangled together are the ones that can freely move. Researchers pointed out that tangled fibers likely can’t move through soil.

Ongoing Research

Willenbring also indicated that she and her team will continue on with the research, which including coming up with new ideas to keep testing. One proposed idea that Willenbring and her team have, is to come up with a way to regulate organic acid, which could possibly help decrease the movement of asbestos fibers. Another idea could be to find a way to keep plants living, atop the capped piles of soil.

“We could do something else to the piles to affect their geochemistry so we don’t get transport…….If you don’t have plants on the surface of the piles, then you have more erosion of that cap, and eventually, it will just have the same problem again,” Willenbring said.

However, not all soils are created equally, according to Willenbring. What this means is while one strategy may work in one area, it may not work the same in another area that has different soil. The biggest concern is the soil in Libby, Montana—a city once home to one of the biggest asbestos factories, and home to naturally-occurring asbestos.

Libby is also home to a Superfund site, meaning an area that contains an abandoned and hazardous waste site in dire need of need of immediate remediation. Libby is the largest Superfund site in United State history.

“We don’t yet have soil from Libby, but it would be great to get some,” the professor said. “Everyone is worried about Libby, and we are too.”

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.

Death Toll Still Rising 15 Years After 9/11, Asbestos Diseases Expected To Increase

The death toll resulting from the September 11, 2001, attacks in NYC still continue to grow 15 years later, after countless people breathed in excessive amounts of asbestos and other toxins while trying to work in Ground Zero debris, to save as many lives as possible (while risking their own).

fireman asbestos

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave clearance the“public in these areas [lower Manhattan] are not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances,” it seems as if they statement was given prematurely.  EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman even suggested that the air was safe and the water was safe to drink, when in actuality, that was far from the truth.

According to Dr. Crane, leader of Mt. Sinai’s World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), over 40% of the 65,000 people he treats, who helped during 9/11, are now living with chronic, life-threatening illnesses, including asbestos-related illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma.

“Forty-three percent of these workers and community members are afflicted with chronic, exposure-related conditions…..It’s been steady for at least the last year and a half ― we’re seeing new people here being certified for cancer 10-15 times week.”

According to Pat Morrison of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), mesothelioma in particular is a “certified 9/11-related health condition,” yet, since its latency can last up to 50 years, it’s still not as well-known as other dangerous illnesses. What this means for Ground Zero workers is that the beginnings of the disease are just now starting to surface for some, while others may not realize they’ve developed an asbestos illnesses until decades from now.

Crane indicated that a good number of volunteers who helped out on Ground Zero still haven’t been checked out by doctor, and it could be because they’re not experiencing any asbestos-related symptoms yet. It may also be due to numerous people traveling to Manhattan from out of state, and their primary doctors aren’t looking for asbestos illnesses because they aren’t associating their patients with Ground Zero.  According to Crane,

“There’s still a good chunk of folks out there who responded to the event and most likely have not been seen by anybody yet.”

Sadly, it’s not just 9/11 that’s caused an alarming number of people to develop asbestos illnesses. Firefighters, in particular, have an extremely high rate of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos illnesses. A recent study performed by the OSHA indicated that “firefighters in the study had a rate of mesothelioma two times greater than the rate in the U.S. population as a whole.”

Yet, even with a wealth of information on how dangerous asbestos is, it still remains legal in the U.S. Fortunately, there is now more hope than ever that the known carcinogen will one day be banned, thanks to the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The Lautenberg Act reforms the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which hasn’t been updated in 40 years. Part of the reform includes giving the EPA more power to test and band dangerous chemicals and substances.

Asbestos was the primary the reason President Obama signed the reform to begin with. According to the president,

“The system was so complex, so burdensome that our country hasn’t even been able to uphold a ban on asbestos –a known carcinogen that kills as many as 10,000 Americans every year. I think a lot of Americans would be shocked by that.”

In the meantime, it’s crucial for anyone who helped out during 9/11 to seek out routine, medical check-ups. Always tell your physician that there’s a possibility that you’ve been exposed to asbestos. This is especially true for anyone who doesn’t live in the New York area.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. 

5 Common Myths Regarding Schools And Asbestos

As school starts back, most parents are concerned with their children studying, getting good grades, and staying safe. Asbestos is one safety issue, however, that not many parents think about when sending their children off to school. While it’s true that asbestos generally isn’t a threat as long as it’s contained, there still remains several myths about the dangerous mineral that anyone with children in schools built prior to the mid 1980s should be aware of.


Myth #1- There isn’t enough asbestos in school to make kids sick

The truth is there is no safe level of asbestos, especially for children, who breathe quicker than adults. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the “overall evidence” in a number of studies have proven that while chances of developing a life-threatening illness increase each time asbestos exposure occurs, it’s untrue that small amounts of exposure are risk-free.

That being said, schools must always have an asbestos maintenance plan in place, and the buildings must be routinely checked for issues. If any school repairs need to be made, a professional, licensed asbestos professional must be on hand to oversee the project, and parents must always be notified.

Myth #2-  There isn’t asbestos in schools anymore

While that may true for schools that were built recently, school building constructed before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed strict regulations on asbestos use may still contain the dangerous mineral. This includes schools all across the nation, from schools in big cities to schools in small towns. A study by the EPA also indicates that half of the U.S. schools in use today were built during a time in which asbestos use was at its peak.

Myth #3- Asbestos is banned

Ironically, even with a myriad of studies that confirm asbestos is dangerous to health, it still remains legal in the U.S. Even worse, it’s sometimes used in common school supplies, particularly crayons. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that in 2015, the following crayons were found to contain asbestos:

  • Amscan Crayons
  • Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons
  • Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons
  • Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce Crayons

Myth #4- Children aren’t affected by asbestos

In general, elderly people tend to develop asbestos-related illnesses more than any other age group, but that’s generally because diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer can lie dormant for up to 50 years. Furthermore, there are always exceptions to the rule. The youngest known victim of an asbestos-related disease, Sophie Ellis, was just 13 when she was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Myth #5 – Only construction workers and crews working around asbestos at schools are in danger

Again, anyone who inhales asbestos fibers is at risk, regardless of occupation or age. This also includes school teachers. In fact,  the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that teachers are twice as likely to develop an asbestos-related illness when compared to other occupations. According to a study performed on educators and asbestos, “none of these persons physically handled the asbestos in the course of his or her employment as a teacher.”

What Can Parents Do?

The easiest way to understand asbestos in schools and the regulations each school must follow is to get involved and remain aware. For more information, see our story, Parents Rights Involving Asbestos In School.

Additional Help and Resources

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more. If you need additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

Parents Rights Regarding Asbestos In School

School has officially started back for most kids in the U.S., and many are returning (or starting) to school buildings that were built prior to strict regulations placed on asbestos. This means that children attending schools built before the mid 1980s may be learning in buildings that were constructed with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). If you’re a parent or caregiver of a child or children who attend an older school, consider the following tips that can help protect your kids, so that they can focus on learning.


Keep Yourself Informed

All too often, parents are left in the dark about asbestos rules in schools, although it’s their legal right to know about them and be informed about what’s going on at their child’s school. For example, all parents have the right to any and all asbestos inspection reports associated with their kid’s school. The records should always be accessible to parents, and if not, Alex Formuzis of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) urges parents to press for the information until they receive it. According to Formuzis,

“If those records are not readily accessible from the school’s front office or the school district, I’d urge parents to demand they make they available. Those records are, in many ways, the best evidence of whether or not their children are in the areas of the school where asbestos is present.”

Learn the EPA Guidelines for Asbestos and Schools

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a ton of information regarding school safety and asbestos, including the guidelines that each school must follow. It’s important to learn all you can asbestos, says the president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), Linda Reinstein. The more knowledge you have about asbestos, the easier it will be understood when your student is at risk of exposure.

“Students, teachers and staff should be protected from asbestos. The fear of the unknown is unimaginable when a child has been exposed at school. With each cough, a parent waits in anguish, wondering if their child will one day be diagnosed with an asbestos-caused disease. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, as prevention remains the only cure.”

The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires that all public and non-profit schools (including charter schools) that were built with any form of asbestos-containing products or materials must:

  • Ensure that an asbestos management plan is always in place and keep a copy of the plan at the school, where the public can inspect it upon request.
  • Provide parents with annual notifications of the asbestos management plan in place for the school year.
  • Alert parents any time a repair is scheduled at the school.
  • Have a designated contact person who makes sure the asbestos management plans are carried out.
  • Perform routine inspections and surveillance (by a certified asbestos professional) on the building, specifically looking for any asbestos issues.

Keep in mind that if asbestos is managed properly by a certified, professional asbestos professional, it’s likely that children in older school buildings are safe. It’s only when friable asbestos is disturbed that it becomes a more serious problem. Friable asbestos can easily crumble and become airborne, and the fibers can be easily inhaled.

If you feel that your child’s school isn’t following the required AHERA laws or if the school is denying access to information on asbestos, contact us for assistance as 800-793-4540. You can also contact the EPA’s asbestos hotline at  800-368-5888 or 202-566-1970 (if you live in the DC area.)

Additional Information and Assistance for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. 

EPA Pressured To Evaluate Asbestos Under New TSCA Reform

With the reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) recently signed by the Senate, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been under extreme pressure to make good on their promises to investigate and appraise harmful substances that are still legal in the U.S., including asbestos. Numerous people want asbestos at the top of the list to be flagged for evaluation.


Bloomberg BNA reports that the EPA is scheduled to review at least 10 chemicals by December 22. The organization must prioritize the substances that are considered the most harmful and known carcinogens. Senator Barbara Boxer, of California, is one of the many people pushing the EPA to include asbestos on its top 10 list. The senator wrote a letter recently, outlining the dangers of asbestos exposure. A portion of the letter read,

“The evidence regarding the dangers of asbestos is overwhelming. As EPA found in its 1989 rule making, “[it] is well-recognized that asbestos is a human carcinogen and is one of the most hazardous substances to which humans are exposed in both occupational and non-occupational settings. ”

The letter also pointed out that, “according to the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the estimated annual number of asbestos-related disease deaths is nearly 15,000 in the U.S., including nearly 11,000 deaths from lung cancer.”

Yet, despite the in-depth studies, warnings, and danger about asbestos, asbestos remains legal in the U.S. and a number of companies continue to use it. In fact, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that between the years 2014 to 2016, around 8.2 million pounds of raw asbestos was imported into the nation.

Linda Reinstein, co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, also expressed her desire to have asbestos evaluated by the EPA as soon as possible. She told Bloomberg that TSCA signing a new law into place that gives EPA more power in dealing with harmful substances, doesn’t mean her organization, or any other asbestos awareness organization for that matter, will walk away from the issue.

“Although TSCA reform was signed into law, it doesn’t mean that any of the sponsors or co-sponsors are going to walk away and ignore implementation.”

Reinstein’s point is an excellent one, according to experts who understand that adding asbestos to the list to be evaluated is just the first step in the process. It could take upwards of several years to go through the regulatory process. If successful, it could mean that all the companies that are still using the dangerous mineral would be forced to remove all asbestos-containing products and materials from its inventory.

About the TSCA Newly Reformed Chemical Safety Rules

Chemical safety laws haven’t been update since 1976, until recently, when the U.S. House gave the final approval earlier this year. Under the outdated laws, around 64,000 chemicals used in the marketplace remained untested by the EPA. The newly reform law now requires that the EPA test all existing and new chemicals for safety, and to determine whether they are safe for humans and the environment.

The EPA has seven years to assess each chemical, and can only take around 20 chemicals at a time. If the chemicals are found unsafe, the laws could change drastically, including stricter state laws. According to Maureen Gorsen, former director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control,

“The impact to the manufacturing sector may be enormous. This will be the largest authorization of new jurisdiction to the US Environmental Protection Agency since the Clean Air Act re-authorization in 1991. Reform has been a long time coming, but it remains to be seen how new safety standards and regulations will be enforced and what changes manufacturers will need to make.”

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or asbestos-related cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.

Queens, NY Jail ‘Is Deadly’ With Asbestos, Says Correction Officers

A number of corrections officers at the Queens, New York jail are claiming they’ve been exposed to asbestos, and their superiors aren’t doing anything to help.

asbestos removal tape warning

New York Daily News reports that officers awaiting disciplinary hearings at the Queens Detention Complex were assigned to an unused wing of the jail to basically “do nothing,” while numerous construction workers were removing asbestos in the area. While the construction workers were given masks to wear, the corrections officers had no safety protection at all, and had to stay in the area while asbestos fibers permeated the air.

According to one of the correction officers,

“They want us to sit there while they’re knocking out walls and removing asbestos. These guys got masks on and all this other stuff and you want us to sit there while they’re cutting walls down.”

The construction has been going on for around a week now, per the corrections officer. The construction company even placed a red warning tape around the area that reads, Danger Asbestos, yet, the officers are reportedly surrounded by it with no protection.

Asbestos is a dangerous mineral with microscopic, odorless fibers that permeate throughout the vicinity when disturbed. Once asbestos fibers become airborne, people in the area can easily breathe in the toxic fibers without knowing. The fibers become lodged in the body, and over time, can lead to life-threatening illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis, and asbestos-related lung cancer.

A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections stated that they’e followed all safety procedures and that despite what the corrections officers said, they were never at risk.

“All protocols were immediately followed in this case and the situation was swiftly abated. At no time was an officer exposed or at risk.”

Officials said that it only took one day to remove the asbestos and that nine corrections officers who were on waiting on a disciplinary hearing were asked to watch the area for fires. Yet, the corrections officers disagree. One of the officers said,

“I sign in and go sit in the park. I’m not sitting on the floor with asbestos. When you’re a modified officer it’s like you don’t exist. They have nothing for you to do. You’re not working a post, you’re not doing paperwork, you’re not doing nothing. All they want you to do is watch DVDs all day.”

The officer’s story backs up a June incident that occurred at Rikers Island prison, when a total of 90 officers on modified duty were assigned to sit in a “rubber room” and do nothing while awaiting their disciplinary hearings.

Watch the video below to see footage of the construction area, and the room where the corrections officers sat while construction work was being performed on the jail.

Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in your area, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more. For additional assistance, contact us 800-793-4540.


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