A once common insulating material, Asbestos has many serious health risks.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring silicate compounds. Composed of long, thin fibers, asbestos was once highly sought after as a building material due to its resilience and insulating properties. Many buildings constructed before 1980 will contain asbestos.
Exposure to asbestos fibers is known to be linked to many health risks. In the case of building materials, it can take very little wear and tear for asbestos fibers to become airborne, entering the respiratory system or attaching onto skin or clothing. A second hand risk comes up when a person in contact with asbestos then returns home, as fibers clinging to the body can become airborne, affecting those at home.
The most well known illnesses associated with asbestos exposure is asbestosis, a chronic lung disease that causes scarring of the lung tissue, and mesothelioma lung cancer.
Asbestos in Schools
Unless a school is newly built, chances are it will contain some form of asbestos, typically in the insulation. 50% of school buildings currently in use in the United state were constructed between 1950 and 1970, which were peak years for asbestos usage. Due to the high health risks associated with asbestos, it is necessary that older buildings be regularly inspected for asbestos.