A safe learning environment should always be a priority, but many Ohio students attend schools that pose serious health risks. Amid crumbling infrastructure are problems with drinking water, lead paint and even asbestos. This means that there is an entire generation of students who could go on to develop serious health problems like mesothelioma or asbestosis.
The health problems in American schools are nothing new. The Environmental Protection Agency raised the alarm as early as 2011, when it estimated that nearly half of all public schools had poor indoor air and environmental conditions. By 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers assigned U.S. public schools a D+ for indoor environmental conditions. A report from the Brookings Institution indicates that at least 36,000 public schools need to either upgrade or replace their current HVAC systems.
Conditions are particularly bad in older buildings, where deteriorating materials easily release asbestos fibers into the air. Many of these buildings have poor ventilation systems, too. Addressing this problem requires a serious undertaking. The National Center for Education Statistics says that it will take a total of $197 billion to fix unhealthy conditions in schools. This comes out to about $4.5 million for every school in the country.
Students in Ohio deserve better than schools that put their health and safety at risk. Unfortunately, some families have no option other than to use their local schools. Since asbestos related diseases can take years or even decades to develop, it is a good idea to maintain careful records of exposure and related health stats over time. This information can be essential when seeking compensation in the future.