Like many public school systems across the U.S., the Public Schools of Robeson County schools contain asbestos in some of its older facilities. The Public Schools of Robeson County has taken pro-active steps to establish a management process that ensures that all of our facilities meet both Federal and State asbestos management requirements. We believe that it is important for students, staff, and parents to become familiar with the facts about asbestos in our school facilities and the measures we take to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) was passed into law in 1986. AHERA is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). AHERA regulates asbestos in public elementary and secondary schools. AHERA requires all public school districts and private schools to inspect all school buildings for the presence of absestos, and to develop Asbestos Management Plans for each school facility.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral found in various types of rock formations. It is mined, processed, and then usually combined with a material that allows it to be used in many different products. Asbestos became a widely used material in buildings beginning in the early 1900s because it is durable, fire proof, corrosion-resistant and insulates well. According to the EPA, it has been estimated that "there are asbestos-containing materials in most of the nation's primary, secondary and charter schools."
There are two different types:
Friable asbestos can be crumbled, pulverized, or powdered by hand pressure. If a friable asbestos-containing material is damaged or disturbed, it presents an inhalation risk because asbestos fibers are more easily released into the air. Examples of friable materials include sprayed fireproofing on structural steelwork, or thermal insulation on pipes.
Non-friable asbestos is bound or locked into the product matrix, so that the fibers are not readily released. Non-friable asbestos only presents a risk for fiber release when it is subject to significant abrasion through activities such as sanding or cutting with electric power tools. Examples of non-friable asbestos products include vinyl asbestos floor tiles, acoustic ceiling tiles, and asbestos cement products.
Asbestos in the Public Schools of Robeson County
The majority of asbestos in the Public Schools of Robeson County is found in floor tile, therefore, it is non-friable and does not pose a health hazard unless intentionally disturbed. Requirement for posting of warnings have been met. Some asbestos has been removed through prior maintenance and/or renovation efforts; the remainder has been determined not to be a health hazard unless disturbed intentionally. Regardless of the location or source of the material, the Public Schools of Robeson County continues to take asbestos seriously.