Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that has been used widely in construction materials, such as roofing and siding shingles, pipe and boiler insulation, and floor and ceiling tiles. Asbestos is a problem because, as a toxic substance and a known carcinogen, it can cause several serious diseases in humans. Symptoms of these diseases typically develop over a period of years following asbestos exposure.
Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in buildings do not always pose a problem (that is, a hazard) to occupants and workers in those buildings. Asbestos is a problem when asbestos fibers
get into the air and are inhaled; that is, when there is human exposure.
Intact, undisturbed asbestos-containing materials generally do not pose a health risk. They may become hazardous and pose increased risk when they are damaged, are disturbed in some manner, or deteriorate over time and thus release asbestos fibers into building air.
EPA's asbestos program for schools (AHERA) and its guidance for other building owners is founded on the principle of "in-place" management of ACM. This approach is designed to keep
asbestos fiber levels low by teaching people to recognize asbestos-containing materials and actively manage them. Removal of ACM is not usually necessary unless the material is severely damaged or will be disturbed by a building demolition or renovation project.
For more information on Asbestos, visit:
Asbestos in Schools
EPA is introducing a new "Asbestos in Schools" web page. EPA's new Asbestos in Schools web page provides users with basic information such as asbestos and health information, factsheets/Qs and As, guidance manuals and links to additional EPA and non-EPA asbestos pages.
Featured Asbestos Resources:
Indiana - IDEM E-Newsletter for Indiana Educators
This newletter provides information on a range of environmental topics which schools must address.
Source: Indiana Department of Environmental Management
Massachusetts Environmental Health and Safety Issues in Massachusetts' Primary Schools
The interagency Healthy Schools Council was tasked with identifying a list of the most important issues for schools to address in terms of environmental health and safety. A multi-agency/multi-media checklist was developed addressing these issues.
Source: Massachusetts Healthy Schools Council - Massachusetts Department of Public Health
EPA Guide to Protecting Children's Health in Schools
Software tool developed by EPA Region 5 and Purdue University provides information on hazards found in schools, inlcuding a virtual tour of a school, the potential effects of those hazards on children's health, planning tools, case studies, and lnks to resources to help schools prevent and fix environmental problems.
Source: EPA Region 5 & Purdue University
Inventory of Federal School Environmental Health Activities
This inventory was prepared by the Schools Workgroup of the President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children and includes descriptions of major school related programs and activities of EPA and other Federal departments and Agencies.
Source: EPA -- President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children
EPA New England's K-12 Schools Website
This site discusses efforts to improve coordination and integration amongst EPA's many schools related programs, and provides links to Regional topic specific web sites, such as: asbestos, diesel school buses, drinking water, environmental management systems, energy, indoor air quality, lead, mercury and teacher and student resources. Links to national websites are provided as well.
Source: EPA Region 1