Asbestos Leak During Construction

Asbestos Leak During Construction May Have Affected Students

Everyone thought everything was fine at the Lafayette Academy in New Orleans when students there left for the summer vacation a few months ago.

Asbestos Leak During Construction May Have Affected StudentsBut officials at the charter school have announced that a contractor working at the school in 2017 likely contaminated much of the building when they allowed asbestos fibers to permeate the air, and now students will have to be moved to two other schools as the new term is set to begin, action that will likely cost the school millions as they clean each piece of equipment before moving it to the new locations.

Mostly, however, parents want answers as to why they weren’t informed about this situation more than a year ago, when it first happened.

Most are livid, and many are demanding health testing for their children, especially since students were in the building at the time of the construction.

Workers dug up asbestos tiles for six days in March (2017) during the school day before the Recovery School District requested workers change their hours to only remove asbestos after school dismissal, reports WWNO-TV news.

They claim that tests show the air met government safety standards on the day an inspector visited the school, and just before students at the charter school returned for the 2017-2018 school year.

The school district says they don’t believe students were ever at risk for contamination.

“I believe that for the entire length of time construction has been happening at Lafayette, your children have been safe,” Recovery School District CEO Kunjan Narechania told parents at a recent meeting.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), however, believes the contamination could have been widespread. A report by the Louisiana DEQ showed that an inspection by the agency revealed unbagged asbestos materials (mostly tiles) and an abundance of hazardous dust emanating from the chute used to dump the debris.

More dust was observed around the dumpsters into which the materials were disposed.

Furthermore, the inspector observed that the asbestos materials in question were not thoroughly wet before removal and noted that workers were wearing paper masks only, which is not suitable protective gear for working with asbestos.

Tracking of asbestos dust was observed in stairways and contaminated workers were going in and out of the sealed-off area without changing clothes, which meant that they were spreading toxic dust everywhere, including in the cafeteria.

Window blinds and other items left in the containment area were covered with dust and there is no indication they were ever properly cleaned.

“Students were attending classes and roaming the halls outside of the containment area, which was not secure. A student was observed poking his head into the containment area,” another report read.

It’s no wonder parents are demanding answers, some of which they hope they’ll receive at another meeting the district plans to schedule during the upcoming week.