The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $202,970 to the Oklahoma Department of Labor to help protect school children and state workers from possible asbestos exposures.
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act program provides protection through on-site surveillance where asbestos is found. AHERA requires local education agencies to inspect schools for asbestos-containing building material and prepare management plans to reduce the hazard. The Act also establishes a program for the training and accreditation of individuals performing certain types of asbestos work.
Although asbestos is hazardous, human risk of asbestos disease depends upon exposure. Removal is often not the best course of action to reduce asbestos exposure. Improper removal may create a dangerous situation where none previously existed. EPA only requires removal in order to prevent significant public exposure to asbestos, such as during building renovation or demolition. EPA recommends in-place management whenever asbestos is discovered. Instead of removal, implementation of a management plan will usually control fiber release when materials are not significantly damaged and are not likely to be disturbed.