Schools in the United States have not been properly monitored for asbestos levels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s watchdog. A report issued by the EPA Office of Inspector General on Monday found that the agency conducted just 13 percent of the school inspections it was responsible for between 2011 and 2015.
The report also found that resources available for asbestos monitoring in schools had been significantly reduced and, in some cases, eliminated.
“The EPA has not documented that the risk of asbestos exposure in schools has diminished significantly under AHERA (Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act),” the report reads. “Nonetheless, the EPA has been disinvesting in AHERA while prioritizing other TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) programs.”
Asbestos is a naturally occurring, highly toxic mineral which is now known to cause mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. It is also one of the most versatile and durable materials every discovered and was frequently used in the construction industry. Exposure to asbestos fibers is especially dangerous for children.