In general, children are considered to be at a higher risk for developing mesothelioma. Like adults who have been exposed to asbestos, children who are exposed are unlikely to show any immediate symptoms. However, the younger a child is when they are exposed to high levels of asbestos, the more likely it becomes that they may express symptoms at some point in the future. Depending on the type of asbestos and level of exposure, it can take decades for symptoms to arise. People who were significantly exposed during later adulthood may not live long enough to see any symptoms.
According to the EPA, schools built before the 1980’s may have a stronger possibility of containing asbestos. Asbestos has also been found in some playgrounds where fill materials containing asbestos were donated by a construction company or other construction-related organization. Undisturbed asbestos in good condition is considered less dangerous. The more knowledge a school has about the materials in its facility, the better their chances are of preventing hazardous materials exposure to children and staff.
Consistent with the Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act (AHERA), EPA regulations require schools to designate an asbestos management coordinator. The coordinator manages all activities relating to asbestos. The success of schools’ asbestos management has largely been the result of the knowledge and practices of the coordinator. Every school is also required to have an asbestos management plan, which should include a list of any uses of asbestos in school structures. Concerned parents can contact an administrator and request a copy of the plan. In the interest of making sure that school environments are safe for children, the EPA offers an AHERA Designated Person Self-Study Guide, which has been a primary resource for schools since its release in 1996.
But unfortunately, the potential risk doesn’t stop in school buildings. Recent tests have shown the presence of asbestos in some children’s toys. Between 2007 and 2009, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, or ADAO, conducted a series of tests on a number of household products sold in the U.S. Three laboratories tested more than 250 products, including children’s toys. Certain modeling clays and other imported materials were shown to contain unacceptable levels of asbestos. One of the most notable cases was a popular fingerprint examination kit. The ADAO tests found significant levels of asbestos in a fingerprint dusting powder that was part of the kit.
Mesothelioma prevention begins with being informed. This mesothelioma blog is dedicated to providing useful information to people about the risks of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma prevention. Whether you are a protective parent, school staff member or concerned citizen, we encourage you to explore this blog, our mesothelioma articles and our mesothelioma FAQ. If you need more assistance, please contact us.