Asbestos Abatement in Schools Included in Obama Jobs Bill
Risk of asbestos exposure in some public schools may no longer be a problem. President Obama’s proposed new jobs bill, officially titled the “American Jobs Act,” includes a measure to rid schools across the nation of asbestos.
The proposed $447 billion plan was created to stimulate jobs in America. If the bill passes, it will also fund asbestos abatement, which is the process of identifying, removing and disposal of asbestos.
Upon the passing of the jobs bill, money will be allocated to school districts for the improvement and renovation of the 100 largest and “high need” public school districts around the country, benefiting an estimated 35,000 schools.
“Every child deserves a great school, and we can give it to them,” President Obama said this week in Ohio, where he discussed the jobs bill.
According to a White House news release, the proposed jobs plan will provide funds for asbestos removal and abatement, greening and energy efficiency upgrades along with a range of other advancements that could begin within three to six months of enactment.
Older school buildings, especially those built prior to 1978, are most at risk for containing asbestos. Because of the widespread use of the toxic material in earlier decades, it can be found all over schools in places like ceiling tiles, vinyl floor coverings, heating and cooling systems in addition to other areas in buildings
Prolonged exposure to asbestos causes diseases like mesothelioma that often don’t demonstrate symptoms until between 20-50 years after exposure. Ridding the at-risk schools of this material can provide health benefits to all the students, faculty and staff.