You may know that asbestos is found in many industrial applications, so the danger of exposure is usually a concern for workers in shipyards, manufacturing facilities, oil refineries, and other industrial jobs.

But many other public buildings contain asbestos, like office buildings, municipal buildings, and even schools and hospitals.

A local New Orleans charter school, Lafayette Academy, has been at the center of a new investigation regarding the handling of asbestos materials found in the 70 year old building. The material was discovered during the 2016-2017 school year.

Removal went on while children were still in school, and a subsequent investigation found that parents weren’t informed while the work was being done, and that the containment was not necessarily effective in keeping children away from the contaminated areas.

Officials note that the possible exposure was very limited, and that asbestosis and mesothelioma are caused by years or decades of high exposure levels.

Additional work at the school in the spring and summer of 2018 did not meet regulations.

The school is closed for the 2018-2019 school year after more asbestos was found in the building’s infrastructure. Workers failed to remove the asbestos materials cleanly during this round of abatement, though no students were present during this summer’s work.

Addressing parents’ concerns, a local doctor with the children’s hospital offered reassurance to parents. “It normally takes sometimes decades of exposure, significant exposure, prolonged exposure, very high concentrations,” he said.

Stay aware of the impact of asbestos in all types of buildings, not just specific trades. Construction and demolition projects need to be done properly to contain the tiny asbestos fibers that can be breathed in by people in the area.