A new reports shows that close to 200 Chicago schools are still filled with asbestos and will continue to pose health risks until something is done. However, resolving the issues the schools are facing isn’t likely to be resolved any time soon.
A new report provided by a Washington D.C.-based company that uncovers asbestos issues states that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records show that out every public school in Chicago, only 11 of them have complied with federal and state asbestos laws. During the past five years, the CDC states that it “spent roughly 54 million dollars on environmental remediation work -(including asbestos) -throughout the district,” yet the asbestos issues still looms over the majority of public Chicago schools.
Although numerous schools were found, the results show that three schools in Chicago, in particular, are currently in dire need of an asbestos removal project, which include:
- Hefferen Elementary School (West Side)
- Northwest Middle School (Hanson Park)
- Lincoln Park High School
According to a surveillance report done last year, some of the schools had pipes that were built with asbestos, and the pipes appear to be breaking apart. Furthermore, some of the doors in the school had plaster falling off. The report is part of an investigation into Chicago schools that has taken place over the past several years. A 2013 inspection uncovered that thousands of Chicago schools had asbestos throughout its facilities, with the main concentration of the dangerous mineral in:
- Staff lounges
- Boiler rooms
- Storage rooms
To make matters worse, a lot of the asbestos found in schools were friable asbestos, meaning that it easily crumbles. This makes it more likely that asbestos fibers will permeate through the air, and being tiny, odorless, and tasteless, they are easily ingested and/or inhaled. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) states that,
“Friable asbestos fibers can quickly become airborne from a touch of the hands or feet, not to mention the wear and tear resulting from students running, jumping, throwing balls or dropping heavy objects.”
The reports also show that many of the schools in the Chicago Public Schools district are breaking state and federal laws by failing to adhere to the laws set forth in the The Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act (ASHAA). Per ASHAA, schools must fully abate any friable asbestos. All schools must also have an emergency plan in place in the event that an abatement is needed. All parents have the legal right to be notified immediately if there are any asbestos risks in schools, as well as what type of action will be taken to remedy the situation.
Unfortunately, it’s not only Chicago schools that face asbestos problems. Numerous schools across the nation that were built during a time that asbestos was heavily used are still in use today, and many of the school districts across the nation are failing to follow state and federal asbestos laws.
Yet, one of the biggest problems schools districts face is finding the funds to cover the massive costs that coming along with asbestos abatement projects. Although the 1984 Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act allocated $600 million to schools to help out with asbestos abatement, along with $382 million pitched in by Congress, the funds were spent up over 20 years ago. In turn, the issues concerning Chicago schools will more than likely take a while to resolve.
Per the EWG Action Fund,
“Until there is increased openness around the presence of asbestos in schools and additional accountability and support for school districts to take the necessary steps for abatement, America’s students, teachers and school staff will remain at risk.”
Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area.