It’s not uncommon for school buildings in the Greater Toronto Area to be 50 years of age or more, and some of Toronto’s schools make their home in heritage buildings such as certain parts of the University of Toronto.
Over the course of the summer when school’s out, many school boards take the opportunity to complete extensive renovations, maintenance or other construction that normally can’t be done when school is in session. As a result, building materials originally used in the construction of these buildings – some containing lead, mould and asbestos – can be disturbed and negatively impact the building’s indoor air quality.
These aging buildings often contain such materials, which can cause lung cancer and respiratory problems in the case of asbestos and impede brain development in the very young, as in the case of lead.
Asbestos has been found in schools across the United States leading to widely publicized asbestos remediation measures, and even more recently the beginning steps of asbestos removal operations have been established in Ontario – as nearby as Hamilton – and at Quebec Schools.
In one Australian case, asbestos was found buried all over their school’s playing fields and a painstaking remediation is currently underway. An indoor air quality (IAQ) test can help school property managers and school boards determine if the building’s occupants will be exposed to various illness-causing contaminants or healthy, clean air when school starts up again in the fall.
Teachers should also be aware of signs the school air might not be healthy, such as a musty odour or dust on the floors and desks, leading to an unsafe working environment.
Should you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or business, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – at (416) 818-9414.
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