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Air Indoor Resources - Asbestos

Asbestos in Schools

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined in a variety of locations throughout the world. Asbestos’ chemical and thermal stability made it a very popular building material since its first industrial application in 1828 as a railroad steam engine insulate and later as thermal insulation for boilers, pipes and other high temperature applications. Due to adverse human health affects caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers, Local Education Agencies (LEAs) defined as school districts, owners of private and nonprofit elementary or secondary schools are responsible to identify and manage Asbestos-Containing Material (ACM) in school buildings.

LEA’s are required to take the appropriate actions to control the release of asbestos fibers in school buildings through such activities as asbestos inspections, reinspections, assessment reports; management plans; response actions; and recordkeeping. If asbestos is maintained in good condition and the fibers have not been damaged or disturbed, it is not considered an immediate hazard. However, if the asbestos product is “friable” or in other words crumbles or can be reduced to powder by hand pressure, it must be encapsulated, enclosed, or replaced.

The asbestos fibers released into the environment are 700 times smaller than a human hair and can become lodged in the lungs causing asbestosis (lung scarring), mesothelioma (fatal cancer of the chest cavity lining) and lung cancer from long-term exposure. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry discusses these health concerns. Asbestos exposure is a dose-response relationship; the higher the dose, the higher the risk of developing respiratory problems or disease.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA), Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986 (AHERA,15 USC 2614 et.seq.) regulates asbestos under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and consequently established the 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 763, Subpart E, Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools rule. Each violation under these federal rules can levee monetary civil penalties. To date, there is no state of Florida asbestos management rules (unless under removal); therefore, the above rules regulate asbestos management in Florida school buildings.

Contact Information

Wendy Murphy
325 West Gaines Street
Suite, 1054
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: (850) 245-9295