Under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) of 1986, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published on October 30, 1987, the Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools rule. All non-profit elementary and secondary schools nationwide, both public and private must comply with the AHERA rule and are required to develop and maintain an up-to-date Asbestos Management Plan (AMP). They must also conduct training, inspections, and sampling related to asbestos, and provide yearly notification to parents, teachers and employee organizations about the AMP and any asbestos-related activities.
The purpose of a management plan is to prevent the release of asbestos fibers from any asbestos-containing material (ACM) in a building. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Many believe asbestos has been permanently banned, but below is a list from the EPA of types of materials that have been found to continue to contain asbestos.
Elevator Brake Shoes
HVAC Duct Insulation
Asphalt Floor Tile
Vinyl Floor Tile
Flexible Fabric Connections
Vinyl Sheet Flooring
Pipe Insulation (corrugated air-cell, block, etc.)
Construction Mastics (floor tile, carpet, ceiling tile, etc.)
Heating and Electrical Ducts
Electrical Panel Partitions
Electric Wiring Insulation
Ceiling Tiles and Lay-in Panels
Taping Compounds (thermal)
Thermal Paper Products
Packing Materials for wall/floor penetrations
High Temperature Gaskets
Laboratory Hoods/Table Tops
Laboratory Gloves/Equipment Wallboard
Vinyl Wall Coverings
Elevator Equipment Panels
Asbestos management plans are required to document the recommended asbestos response actions, the location of the asbestos within the school, and any action taken to repair and remove the material.
Some of what is included in these records are:
- Name and address of each school building and whether the building has asbestos-containing building material (ACBM), and the type of ACM.
- Date of the original school inspection.
- Plans for re-inspections.
- Blueprint that identifies the location of any ACBM in the school.
- Description of any response action or preventive measures taken to reduce asbestos exposure.
- Description of steps taken to inform workers, teachers, and students or their legal guardians about inspections, re-inspections, response actions, and periodic surveillance
- Name, address, and phone number of the AHERA designated person. This person oversees that any asbestos-related responsibilities are completed.
Despite having an AHERA designated person, training is required for any employee who performs Class I through IV asbestos work.
Class I asbestos work involves the removal of Thermal System Insulation (TSI) ACM. This is ACM that has been applied to pipes, fittings, boilers, tanks, ducts or other structural components to prevent heat loss or gain. This class of work also involves the removal of surfacing ACM and Presumed Asbestos-Containing Material (PACM).
Class II asbestos work involves the removal of ACM which is not TSI or surfacing material. This includes the removal of asbestos-containing wallboard, floor tile and sheeting, roofing and siding shingles, and more.
Class III asbestos work involves repair and maintenance operations where TSI and surfacing ACM, and PACM may be disturbed.
Class IV asbestos work involves maintenance and custodial activities during which employees may encounter ACM and PACM but does not disturb it.