All across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, local towns and school boards are forced to deal with aging school buildings that are in desperate need of repair and asbestos abatement. While this is not a problem unique to Massachusetts by any means, the area is home to large number of these aging schools and that is resulting in a serious problem.
One of these schools is located in Wareham, where the 50-year-old school building is in serious need of repairs. The school is currently undergoing roofing repairs, and the heating system is being replaced. However, the school board is running into two major problems that are delaying completion of the projects, as discussed in a recent news article form Wicked Local Wareham.
The first problem is that the roofing materials that will be suitable for this older building are in short supply. The original martial is filled with asbestos, and that is why it has to be removed as soon as a possible and replaced with a non-toxic roofing material.
The second problem is that that when they started to remove the old boiler, the amount of asbestos present has created additional complications. As our Boston mesothelioma attorneys have seen in many cases over the years, asbestos was heavily used as an insulation material. The reason for this is because the naturally occurring mineral is extremely resistant to heat, fire, electricity, and caustic chemicals.
There would commonly be asbestos used to insulate boilers, so workers did not get burned. In addition to the boiler itself, many steam pipes were either made of asbestos material or made of metal and then wrapped with asbestos insulation. This served to increase efficiency by keeping the heat from escaping as it traveled down the pipes.
While much of this material was not harmful to the students and teachers once it was installed, when it starts to break down from age and lack of upkeep, it can be come very dangerous once again. When asbestos material is capable of being crushed with the power of the human hand, it is said to friable asbestos, and this is one of the most dangerous forms of asbestos. This is because when it is friable, there will be a lot of dust created and given off, which can be inhaled. It can also seep into the boiler, where it can be ingested in the water used for cooking. Asbestos fibers can lead to malignant mesothelioma when it is ingested, just as when it is inhaled.
Since the asbestos materials used on the roof are no longer made, the school board has contracted with a structural engineer who is helping them to find suitable materials that are currently available as an alternative to the original asbestos material. This is helpful, but not in terms of getting the project completed on time. As of now, the school is not occupied, but that will not be the case for much longer. However, the school board contractors have told them they will be able to remove the asbestos material and replace the school roof safely while the students are using the building.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
School repairs delayed as winter approaches, November 3, 2016, By Chris Shott, Wicked Local Wareham
More Blog Entries:
New Effort to Strengthen Asbestos Litigation, June 28, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog