Ann Arbor Public Schools say elementary is safe from asbestos, with another being tested

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ANN ARBOR, MI – Burns Park Elementary School can be safely reoccupied after being re-tested for asbestos, while results of a similar test at Angell Elementary School are pending, said the officials at Ann Arbor Public School on Friday August 27.

Bulk air and dust samples were analyzed for asbestos at the two schools in November 2020, in addition to six other school facilities where air conditioning and LED lighting renovations were planned. Asbestos was found then, but that was before construction began and workers needed to be able to take the necessary precautions to avoid harmful exposure, officials said.

But new concerns expressed by an anonymous entrepreneur to WXYZ on Thursday prompted the district to retest. The entrepreneur told the TV station he was exposed to asbestos in July.

Test results conducted by Arch Environmental Group, Inc. on August 25 confirmed that there was no asbestos found in any of the 24 samples taken at Burns Park.

Tests at Angell Elementary School, where asbestos was also discovered before construction in November 2020, took place on Friday, AAPS spokesman Andrew Cluley said.

The Elementals two tests were done out of caution, Cluley said.

Additional follow-up bulk dust samples were taken from both locations and analyzed by an accredited laboratory. In addition, air samples were collected and analyzed at both locations by the district environmental consulting firm.

Cluley said November 2020 testing was done for similar renovations to each of the eight buildings. While exposure to asbestos causes cancer and other illnesses, many buildings built before 1980 contain this material.

“As for our buildings containing asbestos, any building built before 1980 that has not been completely gutted and redone will have asbestos,” Cluley said. “This is not the problem. The concern is: is there any asbestos that will be disturbed during construction? “

This is why the tests were carried out in November 2020, said Cluley, ahead of the construction which took place over the summer. Cluley said no students would have been exposed to asbestos when they occupied the buildings in the spring, as construction only took place this summer.

“It’s not the kind of thing you can do while the school is open,” Cluley said, noting that construction had started as early as mid-June, after school ended for the year. .

Finding asbestos before construction, he said, provides areas for builders to take precautions to avoid exposure to it during renovations.

During the summer planning and construction phases of the Angell and Burns Park Elementary School renovation projects, AAPS worked closely with environmental consultants.

To ensure that all requirements are met, AAPS provided certified monitoring of environmental contractors at every step of the process, as well as testing during their work process and air and dust sampling.

The AAPS performed the appropriate tests, discovered areas where asbestos-containing materials existed, and treated the areas in accordance with applicable OSHA and EPA requirements, overseen by the Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Michigan Energy (EGLE). Procedures include containment, reduction, continuous air monitoring as well as final cleaning dust sampling.

Angell and Burns Park were allowed to be reoccupied by environmental professionals during the remediation process over the summer.

“We did the initial testing in November while we were planning the build if we found something that we know we will have to work around,” Cluley said.

An anonymous report from a contractor working on renovations at the school claimed that lab reports from tests carried out in July at Burns Park Elementary show asbestos was found in 10 different locations around the school, reported WXYZ.

Cluley said that when the contractor discovered what he believed to be asbestos, the materials were tested and procedures followed in those areas.

While it is unfortunate that a worker has been exposed to asbestos in the building, there should be no fear that students and staff will be exposed when they enter the building for the first day of work. school on Monday, Aug. 30, Cluley said.

“Obviously you don’t want to expose workers to this, but this is his claim that our children and teachers entering school on Monday will be exposed to asbestos – I don’t think it is actually . true, ”he said. “The fact that they were exposed to asbestos during work, I don’t think anyone denies. “

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