A burst pipe led to an unsettling discovery at one Ohio high school. An untold number of students could suffer from asbestos exposure after the toxic substance was discovered in the school building. Cancer and other asbestos-related diseases typically take a significant amount of time to develop, and students who recently attended the school might not be aware of the full effects of the exposure.
The water pipe burst in early June 2016, flooding the school gymnasium and causing irreparable damage to the floors. After realizing that the gym flooring was installed approximately 50 years before, the superintendent called for the area to be tested for asbestos. The floor's padding contained about 10 percent asbestos and, as a result, the floor will have to be torn out entirely.
The construction involves ripping out and installing a new gymnasium floor and is predicted to last for several months. It will overlap with the start of the fall term. The asbestos abatement is expected to account for about two weeks of the construction time. Although the gym will be sealed off during this period of time, it is not clear if students were exposed prior to this incident.
Asbestos exposure is an extremely dangerous experience that might be brief, but can lead to lifelong implications for a victim. Students, workers and the general public should be able to expect that their schools and workplaces are safe and free from toxic substances, but many buildings still contain asbestos. When individuals in Ohio are unsure if they were exposed while at work or school, keeping a record of possible exposures can be useful if victims go on to develop mesothelioma or other related diseases.
Source: wfmj.com, "Asbestos discovered under warped Fitch gymnasium floor", Christine Holmes, July 7, 2016