The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined six Arizona school districts $94,575 for breaking the federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. Over 15,000 students attend the 25 noncompliant schools in these districts, according to this story on CBS 5, an Arizona TV news site.
Inspectors reviewing the facilities in 2011 cited the districts for several infractions, including failure to inspect facilities for asbestos-containing materials. They also cited the districts for not re-inspecting campuses with known asbestos materials, and for failing to have an asbestos management plan.
As the EPA press release notes, federal law requires schools to:
- Conduct an initial inspection by accredited asbestos investigators to discover on-site asbestos
- Prepare an asbestos management plan
- Designate a trained asbestos supervisor to oversee compliance
- Conduct periodic surveillance and re-inspections of any asbestos-containing materials
- Train maintenance and custodial staff
- Maintain records in the management plan
The EPA reports that all of the six school districts are complying with the law. The districts can also deduct from the fines the cost of complying with the regulations.
Strict federal laws for schoolyard asbestos are good policy. According to the National Cancer Institute, there isn't a safe level of asbestos exposure. Inhaling microscopic asbestos causes serious illnesses and conditions, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, please contact Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.