Asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral that is known to cause life-threatening diseases, is currently present in the thirty-four schools that make up the Hayward Unified School District in California. The presence of the substance puts 20,878 students at risk for exposure.
Different schools in the district have tested positive for non-friable and friable asbestos-containing materials since 2011. Drywall, plaster, vinyl floor tiles, and pipe wraps are all examples of building materials that have been found to contain the known human carcinogen. The latest inspection reported 92,635 square feet of vinyl asbestos tile in classrooms, art rooms, music rooms, and offices.
Asbestos materials are most dangerous when in a friable state, or easily crumbled or broken down. This is because asbestos fibers released from deteriorating materials can become airborne and be breathed in by students.
The schools within the Hayward Unified School District are not the only ones that contain asbestos products and materials. Schools all over the United States were constructed with asbestos-containing products up until the 1970s, before asbestos was declared a hazard to human health.
Despite the danger the asbestos poses to students, Assistant Superintendent Lisa Grand-Dawson “says that the district addresses more immediate demands that range from “student safety to power outages, structural repairs, and various maintenance and facility needs.'” Do you think more needs to be done to protect children from asbestos at school? Share your thoughts in a comment below.
Source: The Pioneer