Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Syosset School Closure Creates Discussion


Last week, most people on Long Island heard about Syosset School District closing school because asbestos planks (?) were discovered in the dumpster.  This occurred after a routine mainteance operation in the boiler room.  We have had an excellant discussion at the New York State Asbestos Group at Linked In (join the discussion at http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2432277&trk=anet_ug_hm).  We have discussed several issues with the articles discussing what happened.  First many of us are trying to figure out what is an asbestos plank?  We have some speculations but we still have not figured it out.  Why didn't anyone know that the asbestos (planks?) were in the boiler room.  Schools are required under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) regulations to perform triennial inspections of their facilities for asbestos containing building materials (ACBM) and every 6 months a periodic surveillance of the ACBM is required to ensure it is not disturbed.  Obviously, something went wrong.  In addition, some of the articles talk about medical testing of the workers to determine if they were exposed.  Well in our discussion we know of no such test.  The tests can be used as a baseline.  However, asbestos diseases can take at least 10 years to develop.  It is possible that an intense exposure could cause pleural plaques sooner, possibly as soon as a year, but this does not mean a disease will develop.  We thank Mr. Jack Springston, Mr. Donald Weekes, and Mr. Jim Morey for their comments on Linked In for helping flesh out this posting.
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