The 2019 school year has not quite reached its end. However, more than 300 students and faculty members at a Montessori school in another state will be finishing out their year at a different location. Their school building has been shut down due to asbestos exposure concerns as well as other reported health risks. Employees and parents of students in Minnesota schools, in particular, schools where construction projects are ongoing, may want to follow this case.
A construction project had apparently been ongoing at the school when it came to light that plaster that had been drilled, scraped and otherwise manipulated might possibly contain asbestos. It is well known that asbestos is most dangerous in materials that are friable, meaning easily crumbled. Therefore, a risk of injury always increases in asbestos-laden materials that have been scraped, peeled, made wet, hammered, drilled, etc.
The community of this particular Montessori school is also worried about possible lead and silica exposure. In fact, school officials have informed parents of students that they may seek free lead testing at a local health department. Air sample testing at the school is scheduled for the near future. In the meantime, the faculty and students will be relocated to a local university building for the remainder of the school year.
Asbestos exposure is definitely not a matter to be taken lightly. There is no known safe amount of exposure, so it is understandable that Minnesota teachers and parents of students might be greatly worried that a situation like this would produce lasting health concerns for anyone who has visited a school that is at risk. Similar situations in other schools or workplaces have led to litigation in the past when victims of asbestos illnesses have sought monetary judgment against those deemed liable for their injuries.