When you think of occupations that are likely to have asbestos exposure, teachers aren’t high on the list, if at all. However, due to asbestos being used in classrooms, teachers are beginning to be diagnosed with illnesses caused by asbestos. Schools that are older have a larger chance of asbestos being used as the main material. As it was very popular throughout the 20th century. It was used in shingles, floor tiles, caulking, adhesives, insulation, and even drywall. As the schools grow older, the asbestos-containing materials break down. When asbestos breaks down or becomes damaged, it releases fibers into the air. Once this happens, teachers, students, and parents are all exposed. Asbestos can move throughout the HVAC system to other areas of the school. Luckily, schools today, have rules and regulations regarding asbestos.
The scary part is that asbestos-related illnesses take anywhere from 10-70 years to become active. They lay dormant in your system or don’t cause any real symptoms. Retired teachers are beginning to show signs of asbestos exposure. Since it wasn’t a known hazard until the 70s and was still being used in construction throughout the 80s and 90s, many older teachers are now having health problems because of asbestos. If you have worked in an older school and have had respiratory symptoms, you could have an asbestos-related illness. These symptoms could be any of the following:
- Prolonged Allergies
- Respiratory Issues
- Tightness of Chest
Above are just some of the symptoms caused by asbestos. If you worked in a school and have any of these symptoms, see a doctor. Explain to them that you may have been in contact with asbestos. Schools now have rules and regulations to protect teachers and students from asbestos. Asbestos testing and asbestos removal are a large part of schools and safety protocols. If a school does have asbestos, it is removed safely when students and teachers are not on the premise.