Asbestos violations widespread in Massachusetts schoolsA legal petition filed on June 10 by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), claims that there is widespread noncompliance by schools with federal asbestos requirements, and that emergency federal intervention is needed to remove asbestos hazards from hundreds of Massachusetts institutions.
The federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) mandates that all public and private primary and secondary schools have plans for asbestos containment, removal and inspections. On average, 90 percent of schools in Massachusetts that were chosen for random audits were not in compliance with AHERA over the past 10 years. The rates for compliance never reached over 22 percent.
Many problems were uncovered during the audits, including the failure to keep records to verify that when asbestos-containing building materials were brought in and the failure to ensure that maintenance staff was trained in asbestos hazards.
"School children, teachers, custodians and cafeteria workers are at risk of exposure throughout the Commonwealth," said New England PEER Director Kyla Bennett. "These ultra-high rates of noncompliance sound an alarm bell that we need more boots on the ground now to turn the corner on this by the end of the summer, before the schools reopen."
The Massachusetts Cancer Registry shows that teachers and school custodians are continually reporting cases of mesothelioma linked to asbestos exposure that occurred between 1982 and 2003. According to the National Cancer Institute, 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are reported each year in the U.S., and over 80 percent of them can be linked to the victim's job.
Copper thefts may increase locals' risk of asbestos exposure, http://www.heraldnews.com/newsnow/x1922376864/Asbestos-spread-by-copper-thieves-will-cost-Fall-River-Housing-Authority-78-000, 12/14/12
Massachusetts school custodians learn about asbestos exposure, http://www.wickedlocal.com/norwell/news/x2105847083/Norwell-participates-in-asbestos-awareness-training#axzz2Ese9TA66, 12/14/12
Experts question integrity of asbestos exposure reports, international collaboration, https://www.rightoncanada.ca/?p=1761, 12/14/12
Northern Ireland campaign will educate tradespeople, others about asbestos exposure, http://m.u.tv/news/300-NI-asbestos-deaths-in-five-years/e3426c38-0a85-47ff-b68f-3e2d4fbbe3cd, 12/11/12