Many of the schools built in Boston and surrounding suburbs were constructed at a time when asbestos was heavily used during the construction process. The reason asbestos was used is because it is a cheap naturally occurring mineral that has a tremendous ability to withstand heat, fire, electricity, and caustic chemicals.
Asbestos was used as insulation in walls, ceilings, roofing tiles, around pipes and boilers, and it was also used for its ability as a chemical bonding agent. This means it was used in most construction cements and joining compounds. It was very dangerous to the miners extracting asbestos from the ground and everyone who worked in transporting it and processing it into building materials. It was also very dangerous to the workers who were installing the materials in the schools when they were originally constructed. Once the asbestos construction materials are in place in a school, they are considered safe for the students and teachers. However, as our Boston asbestos injury lawyers can explain, once the asbestos is disturbed, it once again becomes very dangerous to anyone around. The reason for this is because, when asbestos dust is inhaled or even ingested, the fibers can become trapped in a layer of tissues know as the mesothelium. This is where mesothelioma gets its name from. Over a period of 20 to 50 years, the fibers can metastasize into the deadly form of cancer known as malignant mesothelioma.
According to a recent news article from the Newburyport News, the Lawrence Teachers Union is urging the school board to shut down the school located north of Boston to be closed during the entire asbestos remediation process. This is because the union does not feel that building is safe for teachers and students.
The trouble started in November of 2016 when a fire started in one wing of the school. This fire caused extensive damage to thousands of tiles containing deadly asbestos fibers, and now contractors who are certified in asbestos abatement must carefully remove around 5,000 asbestos ceiling tiles before any repairs and renovations can commence. The current plan is to keep the 230 displaced students and their staff and teachers in school in the other wing of the school, which was not affected by the fire. This is the first stage of the reconstruction process, and it is estimated to cost around $2 million.
As is required with any asbestos abatement project, the contractors must first complete a detailed plan of everything they plan to do and have that plan approved by the local department of health in addition to building inspectors. At the time of this article, the plan is currently under review, and the teacher’s union is asking the state department of health to step in and force the students to be relocated to a safe facility while any abatement work is being done. This would obviously cost the school board a lot of money, but as we have seen in the past, when money was put before the health and safety of others when dealing with asbestos, it can and will result in people becoming sick from asbestos exposure.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
School asbestos removal causes worries, January 6, 2017, By Keith Eddings, Newburyport News
More Blog Entries:
New Effort to Strengthen Asbestos Litigation, June 28, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog