When you recall the first time you sent your child to kindergarten, you likely remember feeling nervous and worried about the first few days or weeks of separation between you two. The fact is, this life-changing event can be just as hard on a parent as it is on a child. Perhaps your child is still in his or her first year at a Pittsburgh school or maybe that first kindergarten day was a decade ago.
In either case, you might still feel worried about your son’s or daughter’s well-being from time to time. What about your child’s health? Does he or she ever complain of not feeling well after school? Many Pittsburgh schools meet in buildings that are quite old. Renovations often occur. Construction work and other factors may compromise air quality.
Insufficient Air Quality
Air quality is highly important for good health. The issues included in the following list definitely warrant further investigation to determine if something at your child’s school is making him or her sick:
- When your child has a vacation from school, the health complaints are not as frequent.
- You’ve spoken with other parents who say their children have similar problems.
- Renovation or new construction is being done or has been done in your child’s school.
- Live animals have been brought into your child’s classroom.
- You suspect there is mold growing in classrooms, bathrooms or hallways at the school.
If your son or daughter has asthma, things like chemical cleaners, animal dander, dust, mold and more may greatly affect your child’s ability to breathe properly. It’s always a good idea to meet with teachers ahead of time to explain your child’s condition and to provide information and instructions as to how to help him or her if an asthma attack occurs.
What if it’s not asthma?
When renovation occurs, workers often disturb walls, cabinetry or flooring tiles by hammering, scraping, drilling or dismantling them. It is critical that school administrators have done their job by doing the things listed here:
- They should schedule testing of air quality by certified investigators.
- They must make sure no asbestos is present.
- If investigators find asbestos, officials are to take immediate, proper measures to keep students, parents, faculty and all school visitors safe.
In recent years, there have been many stories of school parents learning after-the-fact that their children were present in school while workers were doing construction or renovation, and officials were well aware that the areas had tested positive for asbestos.
What to do if you suspect asbestos exposure at your child’s school
There is no such thing as a safe amount of asbestos exposure. While most illnesses related to asbestos injury do present immediate symptoms as asthma-related issues might, parents may be understandably distressed to learn their children were exposed to danger when school officials could have prevented it.
A concerned parent may want to discuss a problem situation with a licensed physician and perhaps seek a medical examination for all family members who are at risk for exposure. It’s also helpful to speak with legal representation, in particular, attorneys who are well-versed in asbestos litigation.