What You Should Know about Asbestos in Schools

Most school buildings in the United States were built decades ago. Asbestos use was most substantial between 1920 and 1950, so it’s not uncommon for schools built during this time to contain asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that asbestos-containing materials can be found in most of the nation’s primary, secondary and charter schools.

Materials containing asbestos that can still be found in older schools may include:

  • Cement
  • Insulation
  • Millboard
  • Textured paint
  • Floor and ceiling tiles and adhesives
  • Siding
  • Gaskets
  • Furnaces
  • Generators
  • Pipes and pipe coverings
  • Roofing tiles and shingles
  • Spackle plaster
  • Vinyl wallpaper
  • And more


Regulations were created by the EPA in 1987 that require public school districts and private schools to inspect all school buildings for asbestos, develop plans to manage asbestos if found in the schools, and work to carry out the plans in a timely manner.

How to Respond to Asbestos Found in Schools

If asbestos is found within a school, there are methods that are required for the proper removal of the asbestos. These methods involve:

  • Creating and carrying out a special maintenance plan to keep asbestos-containing materials in good condition. This takes place if asbestos materials are found within the school buildings during the initial inspection.
  • Proper repair of damaged asbestos-containing materials.
  • Encapsulation of the asbestos materials with a sealant to prevent release of fibers into the air.
  • Enclosure of the materials by placing a barrier.
  • Removal of the asbestos under special procedures conducted by an asbestos professional


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