Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that has been used for many different manufacturing and building projects across centuries. Due to its heat-resistant nature, asbestos is a perfect candidate for many different building materials, especially wall and pipe insulation. Due to its past common use in many buildings, many buildings that were built using asbestos still contain asbestos to this day. This makes existing in that building very dangerous. A particularly dangerous type of building in which asbestos has been used is in schools.
Asbestos contaminated school buildings put many people at risk. For example, if the asbestos used is damaged or disturbed, thousands of students and teachers would be exposed to the deadly mineral. When the asbestos mineral is disturbed, the small fibers that make it up are released into the air. When released into the air, asbestos fibers are easily inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause many different types of diseases and cancers.
Due to the dangerous nature of having asbestos in school buildings, Freedom of Information requests have been made across the country to know just how many schools are contaminated with asbestos. These, however, are on a small scale and do not reveal the entire amount of asbestos related schools across the country. In some areas, 56% of schools contained asbestos, but in other areas far more schools contained asbestos. Some of these schools even contained the most dangerous type of asbestos, blue crocidolite asbestos.
Another survey revealed that although over 40% of teachers have been told that their school building contains asbestos, they were not informed where in the building the asbestos was, making it impossible to avoid.
Having asbestos in a school building is particularly dangerous to the students of that school. Asbestos exposure is much more dangerous in younger people and children, due to the fact that they do not have fully developed lungs that easily develop asbestos related diseases and cancers.
To keep both students and teachers safe, schools across the country need to not only test for asbestos, but also begin asbestos abatement when asbestos has been discovered.