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District 95 considering second inspector in asbestos removal

For several years now, there has been an ongoing discussion about the air quality at May Whitney Elementary School in Lake Zurich, prompting the school to look into efforts to improve health safety for the children in the school. Although the school district’s longtime asbestos inspector had been leading the charge in removing potentially harmful materials from the school, recent disapproval of the inspector’s methods prompted a school board meeting recently.

On August 15, members of the Community Unit School District 95 School Board met to discuss whether the current inspector was following the guidelines for asbestos removal that were set by the Illinois Department of Public Health. While the IDPH insists that the inspector followed proper removal procedures during a recent removal of cabinets in the school, one school board member disagreed, pointing to the fact that no containment efforts were made during the removal process.

As some of our readers are aware, when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, they can release fibers into the air that can present a health hazard to those who breathe them in. Exposure to asbestos has been known to cause serious health conditions, including mesothelioma.

According to the school board member, the current inspector did not quarantine the area before tearing down cabinets that could have had asbestos-containing materials. While the inspector felt that her objections to his procedure were 'alarmist' in nature, she noted that she understood it to be more harmful to tamper with asbestos than to leave it alone.

Although the school board has not made a decision at this time to get a second inspector, they are considering it in order to properly ensure that all asbestos-containing materials are removed from the school and done so in a manner that complies with IDPH standards.

Source: The Lake Zurich Courier, "Lake Zurich D-95 considers ‘second set of eyes’ for asbestos," Laura Pavin, Sept. 5, 2013

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