Editorial: The presence of asbestos should be publicized

There are many things students simply know to not be worried about while at school. We are comfortable with the composition of wood in the boards and shelves. We can trust the plastic in our chairs will not kill us.  There does not need to be any upfront warning about the presence and security of those materials in a place of work or education. Asbestos is not one of those materials, and thus the student body needs to be made aware of its presence in the school buildings.

Though staff members and parents are warned about the presence of asbestos in the school at the beginning of each year, many students go throughout high school without ever knowing they are walking on a dangerous carcinogen. The material is not really dangerous at its current state in the buildings, but an earthquake, like the one projected to be happening in the near future, could easily unearth asbestos that is currently in “manageable” areas. Future construction projects will also have to be very careful not to disturb any asbestos. Once in the air it poses the threat of causing lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.  This causes students to be concerned once they discover its presence in the school. This is mostly because they knew nothing about the situation. While the news article running in this issue explains how safe the buildings actually are, it will not be read by all the students, and it will not be printed every year. The actual information must become more well-known than unsubstantiated rumors, so all students feel comfortable in their environment.

The school should create some method of awareness so that all the students who are interested in the matter can quickly and easily learn what the situation is. This would prevent any unneeded stress or panic in the students and would also make the district look more responsible. On this same point, if the district plans on doing any sort of regulation of the building in the future it must make sure it follows all the guidelines laid out by the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos.