The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Oklahoma Department of Labor $242,322 to help reduce exposure to asbestos in schools and state buildings through compliance monitoring.
The funds will be used by the ODOL to complete audit inspections in local schools during the upcoming school year. Asbestos inspections are a traditional method of encouraging compliance with the Asbestos in School Rule which is designed to protect the health of school children, other occupants, and local communities. The ODOL will also use the funds to verify asbestos abatement workers are properly trained and accredited.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber, once widely used in building materials for its thermal insulating properties and fire resistance. Intact, undisturbed asbestos-containing materials generally do not pose a health risk. These materials may become hazardous and pose increased risk if they are damaged, disturbed or deteriorate over time and release asbestos fibers into the air.
The EPA's asbestos program for schools, and its regulations for schools and other buildings, is founded on the principle of "in-place" management of ACM. This approach is designed to prevent asbestos exposure by teaching people to recognize asbestos-containing materials and actively monitor and, where necessary, manage them in place. Removal of ACM is not usually necessary unless the material is severely damaged or will be disturbed by a building demolition or renovation project.
More information about the Asbestos in School Program is available at http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html
Additional Information on EPA grants is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/gandf/index.htm
More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.html