Whether you work in construction or some other industry that places you in or near Pittsburgh area schools, or you are a Pennsylvania parent whose children attend a private or public school in the region, you may be at risk for certain health hazards if school officials or employers have not adhered to federal regulations regarding asbestos.
You can't walk onto school property and immediately determine whether asbestos is present because the combinations of materials that comprise asbestos are microscopic. However, you can have a particular area or item tested to determine whether it contains asbestos. If you work in a public or private school building, your employer is obligated to warn you about any known asbestos-related hazards on the job. Asbestos illnesses often don't produce symptoms until long after initial exposures occurred.
Learn about federal regulations
You won't know if someone is legally liable for your asbestos-related injuries if you don't know what the law says. The following facts can help arm you with useful information so you know whether you have grounds to pursue legal accountability if you or your loved one contracts an incurable disease or infection related to asbestos:
- Public, private, charter and religious-affiliated schools must inspect their school grounds and buildings for asbestos.
- If an asbestos problem arises, officials must take immediate steps to address the situation and keep faculty, students, visitors and workers safe.
- Undisturbed asbestos-containing materials do not typically pose a health hazard.
- Crumbling, wetting, hammering, removing or otherwise disturbing ceiling tiles, flooring, cabinetry or other materials containing asbestos places anyone exposed to the material at risk.
- A school does not necessarily have to have asbestos removed from its premises; however, if it does, it must adhere to all abatement regulations.
- Schools must comply with the Asbestos National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.
Besides federal laws, your local government may impose additional restrictions regarding asbestos in school buildings. As a parent, you have a right to information regarding how to access your school's management plan as well as any information related to asbestos action the school has taken. If you or your family member has unexplained medical symptoms, such as lingering cough, chest pain or severe fatigue and you think it may be related to asbestos in a school building, you'll want to seek an immediate medical diagnosis.
If you have suffered ill health from asbestos exposure in a Pittsburgh school, you may also wish to reach out for emotional and legal support.