Many of America's school buildings were built during the peak of asbestos use. According to the EPA, in 1984, nearly 35,000 schools were an exposure risk, releasing deadly airborne asbestos fibers from damaged building materials and other asbestos products. Many U.S. schools are receiving renovations, or are being completely torn down to make way for new, state-of-the-art buildings, such as in New Jersey.
The original Trenton Central High School has been demolished, and the construction of its replacement is planned. The school previously stood for eighty-three years. It is reported to have been a "crumbling building" with a leaky roof and the presence of asbestos. The new footings and foundations should be laid down in December of this year.
Meanwhile, residents in the area have grown concerned with the dust and debris created by the demolition. One resident "saw workers....knocking down brick walls and breaking up concrete who did not spray water to control the dust." As mentioned in a previous blog post, strict rules and regulations must be followed during the demolition or renovation of a building or structure where asbestos is known to be present.
Exposure to asbestos can lead to rare and fatal diseases, including mesothelioma. While we are pleased to see a new, asbestos-free school built in New Jersey, we hope that the demolition process does not endanger near-by residents.