From the blog

Senators Seek Answers Regarding Asbestos in Nation’s Schools

Published: April 1, 2015

WASHINGTON – EWG Action Fund supports Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in their effort to find out how states and schools across the U.S. have implemented a 1986 law designed to protect students, teachers and other school employees from the dangers of asbestos.

In letters sent yesterday (March 31) to the governors of all 50 states, Sens. Markey and Boxer posed a series of detailed questions about such issues as the extent of asbestos hazards in schools, awareness and monitoring of hazards, abatement efforts and the states’ procedures for reporting to the Environmental Protection Agency under the terms of the 1986 Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act.

“As implementation of this law approaches the thirty-year mark, the extent of asbestos hazards remaining in schools across the nation is largely unknown,” the two senators wrote. “We think it is an appropriate time to assess how the law is being implemented in each state and whether any legislative or other reforms are needed.”

“As a parent of two young girls, I want to know how students, faculty and other school employees across the country are being protected from the risks of asbestos exposure,” said Heather White, executive director of EWG and EWG Action Fund. “Many people think asbestos is a concern of the past, but it remains a serious threat to millions of Americans, including school children, and it must be addressed. I hope every state will take this inquiry by Sens. Markey and Boxer seriously on behalf of its own citizens. More than 10,000 Americans still die each year from asbestos-related disease, including young people exposed to it early on in life.”

The EPA requires every public school district and private non-profit school to develop a plan for managing asbestos in its buildings and complying with federal asbestos regulations. Although the law’s requirements have been in place for 20 years, EPA has found that there is widespread misunderstanding and confusion about how to implement its requirements and how to manage asbestos in school buildings.

EWG Action Fund recently launched a new national public education campaign, Asbestos Nation, to raise awareness of this ongoing threat.

“The campaign will strive to not only to raise awareness among the public of the risks of asbestos, but also to push for policies to protect future generations from exposure once and for all,” White added.


EWG Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that is a separate sister organization of the Environmental Working Group. The mission of EWG Action Fund is to protect health and the environment by educating the public and lobbying on a wide range of environmental issues. Donations to EWG Action Fund are not tax-deductible.

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