As you send your kids back to school, you are certainly aware of the dangers they will face. Injuries on the playground, food allergies and quick-spreading illnesses may be just a few of the risks you take when you put your children on the school bus. Sometimes, you just have to do your best to prevent the problem and trust that it will be alright.
However, it may be difficult to prevent a problem when you don’t realize it exists. For example, you may be shocked to learn that one third of U.S. schools have dangerous levels of asbestos. This means that many children and teachers are exposed to these dangers every weekday.
Where is asbestos?
Asbestos fibers are deadly if swallowed or inhaled. When the tiny fibers become airborne, those around may not even realize they have ingested them. Those who live, work or play near products containing asbestos are vulnerable to many illnesses that can lead to death.
Despite the hazard asbestos creates, the government has not banned its use. In fact, a number of materials and imported products from overseas contain asbestos. It may horrify you to learn that some children’s toys contain the toxic substance as well.
School teachers are at risk
You may know someone who worked in manufacturing, power plant, construction or another industry who is now, decades later, suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer or another asbestos-related disease.
However, did you know that school teachers are among the five professions most vulnerable to asbestos exposure? Teachers suffer from mesothelioma twice as often as the rest of the population.
Who else is at risk of asbestos exposure?
As more than 100,000 school buildings across the country continue to age, the materials used in their construction will naturally begin to crumble. When this happens, asbestos fibers are released into the air and may be inhaled by your children and your children’s teachers. If you volunteer or spend time in your child’s classroom, you may also be susceptible to asbestos-related illnesses.
Mesothelioma and other cancers associated with asbestos exposure are completely preventable, but they are also usually incurable. A diagnosis of mesothelioma may not be possible until decades after the exposure, but news of this illness can devastate a family.
You have the right as a parent to expect your child’s school administration to take every possible measure to protect your child from exposure to asbestos. You may also have the right to compensation for medical treatment, pain and suffering if you are a victim of an asbestos exposure illness.