Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center Information - Deerfield Township

By Darrell Mason,2014-06-26 19:36
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Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center Information - Deerfield Township ...

Asbestos Exposure Risks in Older Homes and Schools

Schools and residential buildings constructed prior to the mid-1980s are highly likely to

    have been built using several different types of asbestos-containing materials. This is

    particularly true for buildings constructed between 1945 and 1980, as these years

    encompass the peak of the country’s use of asbestos in construction. Even homes and

    schools constructed prior to 1945 may contain asbestos, as these buildings may have had

    asbestos-containing materials added during renovations and repairs.

Asbestos in Older Homes

Asbestos in older homes may present an exposure risk if the asbestos-containing

    materials are in poor condition, are broken, or are beginning to deteriorate due to normal

    wear and tear. If the material is friablemeaning that it can be broken with normal hand

    pressuresteps should be taken to manage the risk of exposure.

Asbestos may be found in older homes in many different locations, including the


    Insulation is one of the most common uses of asbestos in older homes and buildings. Asbestos insulation of several different types was manufactured and used, including loose

    fiberglass-type insulation, and blown-in insulation between attic and wall joists.

    Asbestos-containing insulation is not a health risk as long as it is completely enclosed

    within the home’s walls. Other types of insulation including furnace and stove insulation,

    pipe coverings, and electrical insulation often contained asbestos.

    Flooring was used in tile form and as sheet vinyl flooring. Many different varieties contained asbestos. In addition, the adhesives used to affix flooring often contained

    asbestos. Deterioration of tiles can release asbestos fibers into the air.

Textured plaster was used both as a decorative element and as an acoustical ceiling

    treatment. Deterioration of the plaster, sanding or scraping, and other disturbances has a high chance of releasing asbestos fibers.

Millboard, rollboard, cement sheets, and other products were manufactured using

    asbestos. All of these wall treatments were commonly used for wall framing. In addition, joint compound used to patch holes and seams often contained asbestos. Undamaged walls do not present a health risk; however any activity that disturbs the walls, such as drilling or sanding, may release asbestos fibers.

    If you believe asbestos-containing products are in your home, the most important thing to do is to leave the materials undisturbed until you can confirm whether asbestos is actually present. Do not attempt to inspect, test, or remove the materials yourself. Instead, contact a licensed asbestos surveyor to confirm the presence of asbestos.

    In most situations, asbestos-containing products can be left undisturbed without posing any health risk. Often, the greater risk lies in attempting to remove asbestos-containing materials. In some cases, however, materials may be too badly damaged, and may require encapsulation (sealing to prevent the spread of asbestos fibers) or even removal. In general, encapsulation is the safest option, and complete removal is usually necessary only if demolition or renovation is planned. If removal is needed, contact a licensed asbestos removal firm to deal with the asbestos.

Asbestos in Schools

    It has been estimated that more than 250,000 schools contain at least some asbestos materials. Locations that required heat and fire resistance, and acoustical protection, are highly likely to contain asbestos. Possible locations of asbestos in schools include the following:

    ? Acoustical plasters and finishers

    ? Thermal insulation materials

    ? Fireproofing insulation materials

    ? Cement board around boilers and furnaces

    ? Sheet and tile flooring in classrooms and halls

    ? Heavy fabric used in auditorium fireproof curtains, and in school laboratories for

    safety gloves and asbestos pads

    ? Joint compound, caulk, and adhesives

    ? Roofing materials

The EPA’s school asbestos management program is called the Asbestos Hazard

    Emergency Response Act (AHERA). This program manages asbestos in schools on an

    ‘in-place’ basis. This means that schools do not have to remove asbestos-containing

    products unless they are damaged or are going to be disturbed as a result of renovation or


However all schools where asbestos-containing materials are presentincluding private,

    charter, and parochial schools as well as public schoolsmust develop an asbestos-

    management plan to reduce exposure risks. According to AHERA regulations, all schools


    ? Develop an asbestos management plan that includes an inventory of all asbestos-

    containing materials in the school and their locations, as well as ongoing records

    of measures taken to manage the asbestos.

    ? Provide parents and school employees (and employee organizations) with yearly

    notification of the school’s asbestos management plan, and any actions the school

    has taken or plans to take to manage asbestos in the school.

    ? Designate a contact person who will ensure that the school’s responsibilities for

    asbestos risk management are carried out.

    ? Arrange formal inspection of asbestos-containing materials every three years.

    ? Provide custodial staff with training to ensure they are aware of asbestos locations

    in the school and are able to work near asbestos safely.

    ? Ensure that properly accredited professionals are hired to perform inspections,

    prepare management plans, and carry out asbestos management strategies when


Asbestos that is properly managed poses little risk. This includes regular inspections,

    maintenance of asbestos-containing materials, and encapsulation or removal when


    Mesothelioma Mesothelioma, a rare yet fatal disease, is caused by the exposure and inhalation or

    ingestion of asbestos fibers. Unfortunately, there is no cure for mesothelioma, which

    affects the mesothelial cells, or the fluid-filled membranes, surrounding the lungs, heart,

    abdomen, or testes.

While pleural mesothelioma, or mesothelioma of the lungs, is most common, all types of

    mesothelioma are extremely difficult to diagnose and treat, making the disease fatal in

    most patients. Additionally, because many mesothelioma victims are not diagnosed until

    the late stages of the disease, curative treatments are rarely used. Most patients focus only

    on palliative treatments, used only to stay as comfortable as possible. Please see the

    resources at for more information on mesothelioma treatment or pleural


If you have any other questions or concerns on asbestos exposure or its effects, please

    visit the comprehensive resources at the Asbestos and Mesothelioma Center.

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