Highland Middle School closed off a portion of its building this week after construction work might have exposed asbestos.

Carpentry work earlier this week at the school, 1700 Norris Place, caused a potential asbestos release in the principal’s conference room, JCPS spokesman Daniel Kemp told the Courier Journal on Friday.

He said there does not seem to be an immediate health threat.

“As a precaution, all families and staff were notified,” Kemp said. “There does not appear to be an immediate health threat and the potential release was again limited to that area, which has now been closed off until further notice. The school is following EPA guidelines.”

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a cancer-causing carcinogen that is naturally occurring. It has been used in products, such as pipe insulation, floor tiles and building materials. There are no known safe levels of asbestos exposure, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

What are health effects from asbestos exposure?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to asbestos increases your risk of developing lung disease. Three of the major health associated with asbestos exposure are:

  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer found in the lung, chest, abdomen and heart
  • Asbestosis, a serious progressive, long-term, non-cancer disease of the lungs

Disease symptoms may take many years to develop following exposure, according to the EPA.

How to protect your family from asbestos?

If you are planning to remodel your home or your home has damaged building materials (like crumbling drywall and insulation that is falling apart), then you may want to have your home inspected for asbestos by a trained asbestos professional, the EPA recommends.

If you think there may be asbestos in your home, don’t panic.

Asbestos-containing materials that are not damaged or disturbed by remodeling, for example, generally don’t pose a health risk. Material that is disturbed or damaged may release asbestos fibers.

If you suspect material contains asbestos, then follow these tips:

  • Do not touch the material.
  • Keep activities to a minimum in any areas having damaged material that may contain asbestos.
  • Have removal, repair and sampling work done by a trained professional.
  • Don’t dust, sweep or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos.
  • Don’t saw, sand, scrape or drill holes in asbestos-containing materials.
  • Don’t track material that could contain asbestos through the house. If you cannot avoid walking through the area, have it cleaned with a wet mop. If the material is from a damaged area or if a large area must be cleaned, call an asbestos professional.

Article Source: https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/education/2018/10/19/jcps-asbestos-possibly-exposed-louisville-middle-school/1694103002/