Dallas, TX - In a press release issued on October 9, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the state of Oklahoma will be the recipient of governmental money to use for asbestos inspections in schools and state-owned buildings.
The $240,000 will also be applied to ensure that professional, certified asbestos abatement workers are fully trained in the safe removal of asbestos from structures. Further, the funding will also ensure that the asbestos abatement contractors hold all of the necessary accreditation. The Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL) is the recipient of the funding and will oversee the inspection of the buildings.
Essentially, the majority of the EPA's funding will be applied to the year-long inspection of schools and state-owned buildings to tally which buildings contain asbestos. Though it is unclear in the EPA's press release, it may be safely assumed that the information gathered from the systematic inspection will help the state of Oklahoma create an action-plan designed to eventually safely remove any remaining asbestos.
Further, it may also be assumed that the inspection will provide a comprehensive status report on the state of the asbestos in these buildings to ensure that the toxin does not pose an immediate health threat.
In all, the goal of the funding is to protect school children, faculty, staff and state employees from unwarranted and unnecessary asbestos exposure under the Asbestos in School Rule.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen or cancer-causing set of minerals that was widely used in building construction and materials. Most industrialized nations, including the United States, have banned manufacturing products containing asbestos since it was discovered the extensive health threat the fibers pose.
Among the serious medical conditions asbestos exposure causes is mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects the protective lining of the lungs, heart or abdominal cavity. When asbestos is improperly handled, removed or disturbed, small particles of the toxin break off into the air. These particles then embed in the protective lining where it may cause extensive internal damage. Safe handling of asbestos is crucial to maintain health and must be left to professional asbestos abatement contractors.