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Parents Concerned about Asbestos at Queens School

Pat Guth contributes news and insightful content for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Patricia Guth

December 10, 2012

Queens, New York - Testing shows that parents who were concerned about asbestos at a Queens, NY school that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy had reason to be worried. A close look at the ravaged school shows the presence of both toxic asbestos and a large amount of mold, issues that could affect the health of students and staff at PS114Q.

According to a story aired on WABC-TV, parents suspected that there could be such a problem at the school in the Belle Harbor area. Many of them were experiencing similar issues in their houses after Sandy struck hard in many Queens neighborhoods.

“We have seen the mold grow in our own homes, so we knew that the school would be in a similar position as our homes were,” said parent Irene Doherty. Inspection officials also found loose, friable asbestos in crawl spaces and elsewhere throughout the school.

When the school reopened after the storm, it was discovered that the students, faculty, and staff shouldn't have been allowed back in the auditorium, where the bulk of the problems existed. That area was then closed down and students were kept out. Now, crews are working to keep the mold at bay and remove asbestos from designated areas.

In response to the situation, the Department of Education sent a letter to parents late last week, outlining the process for addressing the situation. Parents were also promised that after this past weekend's clean-up, they would receive the results of air quality testing before their children are allowed to return to school.

Hurricane Sandy disturbed asbestos in thousands of homes, schools, and commercial buildings on the East Coast. As a result, school officials, homeowners, and anyone residing or working in a structure that may contain asbestos should exercise extreme caution during renovations or demolition. Exposure to asbestos, even in the smallest amounts, could cause serious diseases like mesothelioma and other cancers.

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