EPA Awards (asbestos sickness) A Grant to the Texas Department of State Health Services
Recently, it was announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had awarded the Texas Department of State Health Services with a $124,741 grant in order to aid the Department in reducing asbestos exposures in Texas schools. The award will be used to fund compliance assistance and monitoring, enforcement actions, public outreach, facilities inspections, and also to ensure that state department workers are properly accredited and trained to handle asbestos exposure cases.
This award from the EPA came in October, the month that the EPA recognizes as Children’s Health Month. Children’s Health Month serves to shine a spotlight on all of the different health issues facing this nation’s children. This focus on asbestos exposure protection is significant and important because one in seven U.S. children live with asthma. Thus, issues regarding air quality are important and must not be ignored. In light of this, the EPA has made it its mission to ensure that by the year 2030 their work will help avoid 6,600 premature child deaths, 150,000 child asthma attacks, and 490,000 missed school days, through the provision of up to $93 billion in public health and climate benefits.
Asbestos Exposure Regulations for Schools
Asbestos exposure poses a serious risk to school children because asbestos-containing fibers can be found in an assortment of construction and building parts that have been used to build older schools. If asbestos fibers are inhaled and enter the body, the result can be serious and result in fatal diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other malignant forms of lung cancer. However, the most startling thing about asbestos illnesses is that they can take decades before symptoms present. Thus, asbestos exposure is a real air quality risk that cannot be ignored.
As a result, there are federal regulations in place that govern public school districts and non-profit schools’ response to asbestos hazards. The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) provides regulations that require schools to both inspect their premises for asbestos-containing building materials and create asbestos management plans, and to also take preventive actions to reduce potential asbestos hazards.
The AHERA asbestos exposure regulations are founded on the “in-place” asbestos management principle. The in-place asbestos management principle is the practice of not removing confirmed asbestos materials unless the asbestos-containing material is severely damaged, or has been disturbed during construction or other practices. This is because damaged or disturbed asbestos is more likely to be released into the air, and thus present significant health risks. Conversely, removing undisturbed and undamaged asbestos-containing materials could actually serve to allow asbestos containing fibers to enter the air, in such a way that would never occur if the fibers had not been disturbed.
Have you been exposed to asbestos sickness ? Are you experiencing health issues because of the exposure? Contact an asbestos exposure attorney today for legal representation.