I. Asbestos, once a miracle material now a silent killer.
Up until around the 1980s, asbestos use was fairly common, it was used for numerous different products and in various materials, unfortunately back then it wasn’t known how dangerous and toxic asbestos is to humans, and it was seen as a cheap and safe building material and was used in almost everything.
You may be thinking that the 1980s are well over 40 years ago now, so why would I be worried about asbestos? Unfortunately asbestos is still a problem as there are still numerous homes, buildings, and schools that were constructed back then and are still in operation to this day and may have not been renovated.
This is exceptionally alarming when it comes to schools, many of which haven’t been fully renovated or replaced since the 60s and can still contain harmful asbestos products, even today we consistently find roofs filled with asbestos at schools that need to be removed.
Virtually every school built before the 1980s will contain some form of asbestos, whether its paint, walls, or roofs, it needs to be checked and removed if found as it is exceptionally toxic to children and unfortunately is still around as it was used heavily in building.
Whilst asbestos has been largely phased out of all older buildings, it still persists and can be found in any home, business, or building that hasn’t been fully renovated and cleared of asbestos.
II. Asbestos is still a large problem in the world and in a lot of our schools.
As we touched on above, asbestos is still prevalent in a lot of schools built between the 40s and 80s, it can be found in numerous different types of materials such as paint, insulation, walls, roofs, ceiling tiles, and flooring, while it might look dangerous you could be walking into an extremely toxic environment.
While it might not seem like it, a building could have a lot of asbestos-containing materials in it that you aren’t aware of and can look and function correctly for decades, while asbestos is toxic, it is also incredibly resilient and apart from its toxic nature was a great building material that conferred several benefits.
And that’s exactly why it was used so commonly and why it can be everywhere, it was cheap, reliable, and at the time thought to be a miracle material that could be used for several different uses with little to no downsides, unfortunately now we know that is not the case.
However, it may not even be in the room itself, asbestos was used in piping as well and can be overhead in the ceiling, asbestos was used everywhere and for everything, and it is why removing asbestos from schools can be tricky as there may be a need in some cases to completely rebuild areas and infrastructure that goes throughout the entire school.
III. The health risks for children and diseases that can be lifelong.
So we know that asbestos is toxic and harmful to humans, but exactly how toxic is it and what can it do to a child’s body?
Asbestos is extremely toxic to adults, but in children, it can cause a wide range of different health issues, its also important to note that children are at higher risk in general as they tend to breathe faster and get closer to the materials either in the floor or walls and generally are prone to not understanding safety concerns.
Asbestos can cause growth problems, serious respiratory problems, and asbestosis which is a scarring of the lungs and can cause numerous breathing problems, lung cancer, and one of the most common ones mesothelioma which is a rare form of cancer that is linked directly to asbestos and is found in 90% of cases to be the cause.
It is a horrible, toxic substance that can wreak havoc on the body and is even worse in children who are still developing and do not have full immune systems yet to fight off infection and other related illnesses.
That is why it is extremely important that even if you just suspect asbestos, to get a professional team to investigate the site and clear the asbestos by any means necessary and keep children away from this harmful material, this includes educating them on the seriousness of asbestos and making sure that they are aware of the places it can be.
We’ll touch on this more below, but having an education plan in place to let children know what to do when asbestos is detected is one of the best means of prevention against it harming them and others.
IV. Management, inspections, and education on asbestos.
Even after asbestos has been removed from a building, it is possible for asbestos to still be present, even the most professional teams can not fully eradicate asbestos as it belongs to the fibrous silicate family, this means that when loose, asbestos can be free and attach to different materials and stay there for a long time.
That’s why having regular inspections and management of asbestos in schools is so critical to children’s health as it can be found in areas around asbestos removal sites that even the most painstakingly efficient removal team can not account for owing to the nature of asbestos being a very hard material to fully eradicate.
Even once a site has been declared asbestos-free, it’s important to have a management plan in place for asbestos and to create regular inspections of asbestos, as well as to create environments that foster proper asbestos removal and containment if found within buildings or other structures that can be safely quarantined until a professional team is contacted to come and remove it.
We’ve touched on this several times, but asbestos is a horribly toxic substance to humans and it should be treated as such whenever it is detected and treated as a health emergency.
This mean’s that adding regular inspections and education on asbestos to your criteria, especially if you’re working in a school, you can talk to an asbestos removalist team to draw up a more solid plan that can include routine inspections and give you more advice and educate you further on dealing with asbestos.
V. Making sure that your future is safe.
The need for awareness of asbestos is critical, especially so if you’re working in a school, the effects of asbestos are toxic and deadly and there needs to be more awareness brought about it to keep people safe, especially children who learn in these environments.
Safety when handling or being around asbestos is priority number one and it can’t be overstated enough just how important it is to take steps in keeping your distance from asbestos even if you just suspect it may be somewhere.
The most common places you will find asbestos in schools are in old roofs, walls, paint, and floors, if your school hasn’t been fully remodeled since at least the 80s, you will want to contact an asbestos removalist team as soon as possible even if you only suspect it, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to asbestos.
In conclusion, asbestos is still a very common danger that can be faced in schools, it’s toxic and a major health hazard to children, awareness needs to be raised of it and if suspected, steps must be taken immediately to remedy the situation before complications arise, if you currently work in a building that was built before the 90s and has not received a full overhaul yet there is a chance you could have asbestos in or around your buildings.
Removing it is paramount as the damage it can cause to humans can’t be understated, if you suspect there may be asbestos in your buildings, or you have recently removed it, you will want to involve action plans on how to deal with it, safely remove it and further educate staff and students about how harmful asbestos can be and what you should do to help fight against it.