A Christian school in Ohio is under criminal investigation for one cost-cutting measure; a measure which could cut some students’ lives painfully short.
The students, some as young as 13, participated in a volunteer project which involved gutting an old YWCA in preparation for the building becoming the new site of their school, the Buckeye Education School in Berea, OH. The project took place over several weekends and the walls of the YWCA were filled with the deadly substance, asbestos. The students wore no protective gear.
Ohio and federal law requires that school and public building asbestos abatement is performed by trained and accredited personnel.
A neighbor to the YWCA, and an asbestos abatement professional, Darren Clink, shot a video of the students as they removed asbestos filled debris with buckets and a front-end loader. From WKYC:
“The entire site was contaminated with asbestos and the people who were doing it were all children,” said Clink. “The kids were loaded with it.”
When regulators visited the site on Dec. 13, they found three dumpsters filled with debris believed to contain asbestos, as well as potentially contaminated material strewn about the property, according to Ohio EPA inspection reports.
Inside, almost all of the interior walls as well as the ceiling had been removed, leaving pipes and other surfaces exposed. It also appeared that debris had been dumped into the deep end of the former Y’s pool.
Subsequent tests found that floor tiles, pipes and duct fabric were all filled with asbestos, the records show.
Here’s the video:
Buckeye Education is overseen by Sterling Education, whose vision statement ironically includes, “adequately funded academic programs and safe, well-maintained, proper school facilities.” Both Buckeye and Sterling have declined to comment on the situation.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that was commonly used in building construction until about the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is still used in some automotive brakes and clutches. Asbestos has not been banned in the US and it is still mined in Canada and Russia.
Asbestos is harmless until it becomes airborne. While the substance itself is not toxic, it can lodge itself in the lungs and even a single fiber can cause inflammation and scarring, which can lead to a variety of lung problems, including cancer.
While the students will be immediately x-rayed and tested, the effects of asbestos exposure could take as long as 30 years to manifest.
Asbestos exposure does not mean automatic problems. Nearly everyone has and does inhale asbestos, but for the majority of people, the fibers never lodge themselves into the lungs. Of course, the odds of contamination dramatically increase as the length and/or volume of asbestos exposure increases.
Wendy Gittleson is a seasoned writer, a dog lover and an avid political junkie. She is the Senior Editor for Addicting Info. In her rare down times, you’ll find her somewhere in the mountains or near the beach. Follow her on her Facebook page or on Twitter, @wendygittleson