Asbestos Found on Desks in New Jersey School
In Central New Jersey’s Woodbridge Township, an elementary school that already has a reputation for being less than environmentally-safe is in the news again.
Just six weeks or so after the town of Iselin’s School 18 (also known as Indiana Avenue Elementary School) was closed for cleaning due to excessive mold, its doors have been shuttered again after asbestos was found on desk surfaces in three different classrooms and in the school’s media room.
According to News 12 New Jersey, officials were alarmed about the mold found back in February and embarked on a cleaning campaign that should have rid the school of any traces of it.
But parents were told at a meeting earlier this week that new tests indicated that asbestos fibers are now a problem and are prominent in certain parts of the busy school.
That means the students at Indiana Avenue Elementary will be moved to the local middle school, where they’ll attend classes on a split session.
In the meantime, parents have made it clear that they are fed up with the disruption in their children’s schedules and don’t understand why school board officials can’t make sure the school is free of toxins once and for all.
“I want clear, concrete timelines as to what actions they will take to fix this and what to expect with our kids,” says father Daniel Grossberg, who attended a meeting with school officials the day after the report was released.
Last time, students were out of school for an entire week before being sent to the middle school for a similar schedule to what is planned this time.
Unfortunately, asbestos in older schools is commonplace and there are no dangers present as long as the asbestos-containing materials are in good condition.
However, many of the nation’s school are deteriorating and items such as asbestos floor tiles, ceilings, pipe insulation, and more are becoming a hazard.
Hence, it’s essential for school maintenance professionals to be on the lookout for problems and to address them quickly and in a way that will not affect students, staff, and faculty.
That usually needs to involve closing the school until a thorough cleaning can be accomplished. In some cases, the asbestos products will need to be removed or encapsulated so that the situation does not persist.
Potential asbestos problems that are not being addressed or are being handled improper should always be reported to the local Environmental Protection Agency or Department of Environmental Quality.