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Attending elementary, high school, college or a university should not give someone cancer. Yet many school buildings across the United States contain asbestos – a cancer-causing mineral. Due to its natural fire-resistant properties, asbestos was widely used for construction projects before it was regulated in the U.S. This includes the construction of tens of thousands of school buildings.
Today, countless students and teachers are at risk of developing harmful and deadly diseases from exposure to asbestos, including a terminal type of cancer known as mesothelioma. Yet many schools have done nothing to protect their students and employees from asbestos exposure. If you or a loved one has developed an illness due to asbestos at a school or university, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
What Are The Risks Associated With Asbestos Exposure In Schools And Universities?
Asbestos is a group of six naturally occurring minerals that are confirmed to be carcinogenic, meaning they cause cancer in humans. In 1987, the International Agency for Research on Cancer published a study that identified all six types of asbestos as having the potential to cause cancer and other negative health effects.
Asbestos can cause health issues after being inhaled or ingested by someone at school. Asbestos fibers can become lodged in the inner tissues of the body, causing irritation, inflammation and a buildup of scar tissue over time. This can then result in cancerous tumors or other health problems, such as a buildup of fluid in the lungs. It can take many years for exposure to asbestos to result in cancer; the average latency period is 20-60+ years.
Asbestos has been linked to illnesses and diseases such as:
- Lung cancer
- Cancer in other parts of the body
- Pleural plaques
- Pleural effusion
Mesothelioma is a deadly type of cancer with no known cure. It is cancer of the mesothelial tissues, or the protective lining that surrounds the lungs and other organs. The National Cancer Institute states that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Being exposed to asbestos even once could result in an illness or disease. However, evidence suggests that regular exposure to asbestos (such as attending a school that contains asbestos) is more likely to result in health problems.
Examples Of Elementary, High School And University Asbestos Use
There are countless examples of schools across the country finding asbestos on their premises and – in most cases – failing to remedy the problem or properly protect their students and staff. Here are three stories from the elementary, high school and university levels that highlight this issue.
Lewis C. Cassidy Elementary School
In 2018, the Philadelphia Inquirer conducted an investigation into the presence of asbestos at Lewis C. Cassidy Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The results of the inquiry were shocking: they found that surface dust tested from one of the classrooms contained 50 times more asbestos fibers per square centimeter (4,000,000 fibers) than the highest result of settled dust tested in the apartments near Ground Zero after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Hempstead High School
Hampstead High School in Long Island, New York, has been the center of multiple asbestos issues that have resulted in investigations, lawsuits, and allegations of fraud and mismanagement. In 2004, the public high school was shut down for a week due to an unsuccessful asbestos cleanup 14 years previously. Dust that contained asbestos was found after a panel fell off the wall of a classroom – meaning that the $1.9 million asbestos cleanup from 1990 failed to rid the school of asbestos.
The Pennsylvania State University
In 1977, after complaints from teachers that parts of the ceiling were flaking off, conducted widespread testing of more than 100 of its buildings. The tests confirmed the presence of asbestos in many buildings. The Pennsylvania State University attempted to sue the manufacturer, Johns Manville, to cover the $8.5 million it would take to remedy the problem. Johns Manville, however, was bankrupt and facing hundreds of similar lawsuits.
Without any funding available, The Pennsylvania State University did little to rid the building of asbestos. It was cheaper and easier to “wait and see” if the asbestos would cause any health problems. Unfortunately, this is a common trend at many schools and universities in the country. The Pennsylvania State University is now facing multiple lawsuits for student and teacher illnesses connected to exposure to asbestos
What Can I Do If I Develop An Illness As A Result Of Asbestos Exposure In A School?
If you or a loved one has developed an illness such as mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos in a school, you have legal rights and options. Anyone who fails to comply with federal and state asbestos regulations can be held liable for civil penalties for related illnesses. This means you may have the right to file a claim against one or more parties for negligently exposing you to asbestos in a school building.
In this situation, you should contact an asbestos attorney near you as soon as possible. Different states have different time limits, but most range from one to three years. Acting quickly can ensure that you protect your right to recover compensation. Personal injury and wrongful death claims are the most common lawsuits for asbestos exposure. You could file this type of lawsuit if a person or party – such as a school – negligently failed to protect you from asbestos exposure.
Bringing a claim for an illness caused by asbestos could result in financial compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages, lost quality of life, pain and suffering, and more. Most of these cases reach settlements, meaning they do not have to go to trial. You may also be eligible to file a claim with an asbestos trust fund. This is a fund set up by a company that has gone bankrupt to ensure that victims of asbestos exposure can still receive financial compensation.
Why Choose Bailey Glasser?
- At Bailey Glasser, we have extensive experience representing those who have developed mesothelioma due to exposure.
- Our attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
- We understand these cases are often complex and technical. We bring intelligent aggression and substantial experience working product liability cases to verdict and settlement.
- There are no upfront costs. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we take all the financial risk and only charge a fee if we successfully resolve your claim.