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Asbestos abatement in Illinois schools stirs controversy

It's a well-known fact that public buildings containing asbestos must undergo regular testing for and abatement as necessary. Ever since the use of asbestos in construction materials was outlawed, efforts to remove the harmful mineral in a safe manner have occurred on regular basis.

Over the course of this summer, almost 90 Illinois schools went through asbestos abatement. Despite the necessity of this project, the officials that coordinated the asbestos removal were not entirely transparent about the process. Many of the schools impacted by the abatement, were also part of widespread efforts to consolidate schools in Chicago, so many students are entering new schools that were just stripped of asbestos.

As soon as parents learned about the asbestos abatement projects, some of them raised alarms. One woman noted that parents should have been given better notice about the removal and should have been given the option to send their children to different schools.

Parents have a right to be concerned about their children. Knowing about the effort to remove asbestos from public schools, what kind of danger were students and staff exposed to before the removal? 

The primary criticism of the asbestos removal in Chicago is that officials didn't conduct the abatement process in a public fashion. In serious matters of health, transparency is necessary. As the school year begins, parents and teachers may want to take steps to ensure that there aren't any lingering safety concerns in the school buildings.

Asbestos exposure is a health concern that should never be taken lightly. The health effects of inhaling asbestos are generally irreversible and often fatal, so those who may have been exposed to the dangerous substance could benefit from a thorough understanding their legal rights and options.

Source: WBEZ News, "CPS buildings go through summer asbestos removal," Natalie Moore, Aug. 23, 2013

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