Asbestos causes Oregon elementary school to close

September 17th, 2006

Officials in Klamath Falls, Oregon, unanimously voted to close century-old Henley Elementary School due to the presence of asbestos throughout its attic. According to superintendent Greg Thede, dangerous asbestos materials were detected in the attic during a recent re-roofing project.

Thede said, “It’s in the ceiling of virtually the whole school,” which had a student population of 412.

Last year, parents at Henley reported that their children were suffering respiratory problems and other illnesses due to poor air quality. When mold was found in the building, the local school district (knowing that failure to take adequate safety measures is considered negligence) hired an abatement firm to remedy the matter.

Opening of the school for the Fall semester was initially delayed, and then came the news of its permanent closing. Almost half a million dollars were spent before that was announced. It remains to be seen whether asbestos lawsuits or mesothelioma lawsuits will be filed on behalf of Henley’s former students, teachers and staff.

Many schools throughout the United States harbor materials containing asbestos, which is used for insulation or as a fire retardant. But when asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, there is a deadly threat to short- and long-term human health. Asbestos has been proven to lead, in many cases, to mesothelioma, a form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs, heart and abdominal cavity.

Mesothelioma lawsuits have been successful in the past at proving the link between asbestos and mesothelioma.

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