EPA fines three Arizona charter school operators $27,480 for asbestos violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined three Arizona charter school operators a combined total of $27,480 for alleged Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) violations.

In 2008, EPA inspectors discovered that three Arizona school operators all failed to conduct inspections to determine the presence and condition of asbestos-containing materials in the school buildings of seven schools. The operators also failed to develop asbestos management plans for six schools. Accredited inspectors have since inspected all seven schools and determined that five schools have no asbestos-containing materials. All of the school operators have since taken necessary actions to comply with the law.

“Asbestos in schools has the potential for endangering the health of students, teachers, maintenance workers, and others,” said Kathy Taylor, Associate Director for the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “EPA takes these violations seriously; these schools have now been inspected and have up-to-date asbestos management plans in place.”

Asbestos is a mineral fiber commonly used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant. When asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed by repair, remodeling, or demolition activities, microscopic fibers become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause significant health problems.

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