Children Exposed to Asbestos After School Improperly Removes Hazardous Materials

Several schoolchildren playing outside of school were playing with a white, chalky substance they found on the school sidewalk.

The material actually was the residue of debris from discarded asbestos insulation. The previous evening, the school's janitorial staff removed hot water pipes from an underground tunnel at the school, including the asbestos insulation. The asbestos spread all over the sidewalk during its removal. The next week, school officials hired a contractor to clean up the asbestos materials.

The students' outcome due to this exposure is unclear. Exposure to asbestos at any level can cause malignant mesothelioma: invisible particles from the asbestos can lodge in the linings of an individual's lungs, heart, or abdomen, and then later generate cancerous cells that form tumors.