Risks of Asbestos Exposure on College Campuses

The United States has outlawed and heavily regulates the use of asbestos. However, the dangers of asbestos exposure on college campuses are still a pressing concern. University grounds across the country have been found to have asbestos-containing building materials and infrastructure. This is because asbestos is well known for its durability, low manufacturing cost, and […]
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Risks of Asbestos Exposure on College Campuses

The United States has outlawed and heavily regulates the use of asbestos. However, the dangers of asbestos exposure on college campuses are still a pressing concern. University grounds across the country have been found to have asbestos-containing building materials and infrastructure. This is because asbestos is well known for its durability, low manufacturing cost, and resistance to fire. This article will explain who is affected by asbestos on college campuses, what happens after asbestos exposure, the complications of asbestos, and how to initiate a legal case if you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness.

Despite these positive attributes, asbestos can lead to severe or deadly illnesses. College students must know about the risks of asbestos exposure on their campus. If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos on a University Campus, you may be eligible for compensation. File a claim with our personal injury lawyers to get started.

Where Is Asbestos Used in College Campuses?

asbestos exposure on college campuses

Asbestos was used as a building material for many colleges. Asbestos was used to insulate, fireproof, and create a safe working environment. Asbestos-containing materials commonly seen in educational institutions include:

• The ceiling tiles
• Flooring made of vinyl
• Wallboard
• Home ventilation and air conditioning ducts
• Insulation tape for pipes
• Thermal insulation
• Cement sheets
• Ceilings or walls covered with a textured paint

What Steps Were Taken to Address the Asbestos Situation?

The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) was enacted in 1986 to protect against asbestos exposure among school personnel. AHERA mandates the following for all public and nonprofit private schools:

• Do asbestos checks on their buildings once every three years
• Organize and update asbestos management strategies
• Appoint and educate a person to supervise asbestos-related operations
• Take corrective measures to avoid or lessen asbestos-related risks

Asbestos products in excellent condition are rarely required by law to be removed from schools. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that very little danger exists to students and school staff from properly maintained asbestos-containing items. Nevertheless, improper asbestos removal might potentially increase exposure risk and can be toxic.

Who Does Asbestos Affect?

Asbestos exposure can happen anywhere people work with asbestos-containing materials or products containing them. Schools have traditionally been the most common places for asbestos exposure, especially in older science labs and industrial arts rooms.

There are many ways that students may get exposed to asbestos, such as:

• During renovations or repairs on campus buildings
• In construction projects on campus
• Walking past damaged tiles or other material containing asbestos
• Spending time in older classrooms with ceiling tiles made from asbestos-containing materials

Teachers, administrators, and staff members also risk asbestos exposure on college campuses.

What are the Consequences of Asbestos Exposure?

Asbestos-related diseases often take years, even decades, to develop after initial exposure to the toxin. The long latency period can make it challenging to identify the cause of an illness, and some victims don't learn they've been exposed to asbestos until well after the damage has been done. Educating yourself about asbestos and its risks is essential, so you know the warning signs and seek treatment if necessary.

The onset of symptoms of asbestos exposure varies and is affected by several variables, including but not limited to:

• Type of disease
• The number of asbestos fibers breathed or consumed
• Your age at the time of exposure
• How long were you exposed to asbestos

The most common way to be exposed to asbestos is through the air, either inhaling or ingesting it. And because long-term exposure to asbestos causes scarring of the internal organs, mesothelioma becomes an expected outcome of asbestos exposure.


This is a disease characterized by malignant tumors arising in the mesothelium. Tumors that form in the:
● Pleura (lung tissue)
● peritoneum (abdominal cavity)
● Pericardium (heart tissue)
● Or tunica vaginalis

These are the four distinct forms of mesothelioma. Cancerous growths begin in the organ linings of the chest, belly, and heart.

Signs and Symptoms:
• Dry cough
• Shortness of breath
• Complications with the respiratory system
• Pain in the chest or the abdomen
• Night sweats and a high temperature
• Fluid around the lungs
• Fatigue
• Muscular weakness

Mesothelioma Causes

Mesothelioma is caused mainly by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos Exposure on college campuses can occur through the prolonged use of talc and other consumer items that contain the substance. It takes decades after asbestos exposure for cancer to emerge because asbestos particles take so long to do the damage that ultimately results in cancer.

Steps to Malignancy

Step 1: Asbestos fibers in the air are inhaled or ingested.
Step 2: Asbestos fibers get into the lining of vital organs, including the lungs, abdomen, and heart.
Step 3: Embedded fibers promote inflammation and harm to mesothelial cells.
Step 4: Over time, damaged mesothelium develops tumors, resulting in the illness.

Patient's Survival Rates

People with mesothelioma often want to know how long they have to live after receiving a diagnosis. Although there is no known cure, the prognosis varies from patient to patient based on several factors, including age, general health, the timing of diagnosis, and whether or not medication and healthy lifestyle choices can improve the patient's condition.

Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

Asbestos fibers are highly carcinogenic. Thus they increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer. Asbestos can cause either small-cell or non-small-cell lung cancer.

How Does Asbestos Exposure Lead to Lung Cancer?

Asbestos becomes lodged in a person's lung tissue upon inhalation. Although not everyone exposed to asbestos will end up with lung cancer, individuals exposed to high levels of asbestos over extended periods are at the most considerable risk.

Symptoms and Evaluation

Usually, these signs don't appear until the advanced, more difficult-to-treat stages of lung cancer. Asbestos-exposed individuals need to receive regular check-ups. The symptoms of lung cancer are the same regardless of whether it is caused by asbestos, smoking, or anything else. Symptoms of lung cancer can be (but are not limited to):

• Persistent cough
• Difficulty breathing
• Physical distress or pain in the chest
• Hoarseness or wheezing
• A bloody cough
• Lack of energy and appetite loss
• Inflammation of the face and neck
• Chronic respiratory illnesses

Lung Cancer Treatment

Procedures that can treat asbestos-related lung cancer are surgical, chemotherapeutic, radiotherapeutic, and immunotherapeutic approaches. The primary goal of these therapies is to eliminate the cancer cells themselves, therefore stopping the growth of any new tumors. In addition, palliative care aims to improve the quality of life by reducing symptoms such as pain.

Asbestos Liability: What You Need to Know

Asbestos-related illnesses kill thousands of individuals every year. Persons responsible for exposing people to asbestos can frequently be held accountable for such damages. Although asbestosis and cancer take a long time to develop following asbestos exposure on college campuses, the physical, emotional, and financial expenses build up rapidly upon diagnosis.

Asbestos victims might seek damages from schools that exposed them to the mineral if a judge ruled that such campuses were at fault.

Who is Eligible to File a Lawsuit Against Asbestos?

You or a loved one may be eligible for compensation if you or they were diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness and treated at a cancer center. Your claim should be filed within the statute of limitations, and you must record the asbestos exposure history that led to the illness. Evidence may include school history and comprehensive descriptions or testimonies of asbestos exposure.

Alternatively, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim if an asbestos-related illness killed a family member. Your role would be the personal representative of your deceased loved one's estate. However, rules and restrictions on who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit vary by state. Here are the most used criteria for eligibility:

• A marriage partner or spouse
• Children, including adoptive and stepchildren
• Parents or grandparents
• Someone who relied on the dead person financially (this varies by state)

Legal action for wrongful death can provide financial relief for surviving loved ones burdened by final expenses, funeral expenditures, and lost wages.

Which Factors Influence Asbestos Liability?

Although the basis for asbestos cases may vary from state to state, negligence, strict responsibility, and breach of contract are the most common legal doctrines.


A negligence claim often requires the plaintiff to show the following to be successful:

• The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care under the law.
• The actions of the defendant were in direct defiance of that obligation.
• Due to the defendant's carelessness, the plaintiff sustained harm. The term "causation" describes this relationship.
• The plaintiff suffered losses as a direct consequence of the harm.

In most cases, the medical probability of an asbestos-related disease is proven by demonstrating the frequency, duration, and proximity of the defendant's exposure to asbestos.

Strict Liability

Proving a defendant's negligence might be challenging in some cases. However, a plaintiff might instead rely on a strict liability basis. In a case of strict responsibility, the plaintiff has to establish the same four components as in a negligence case, with two exceptions. First, the plaintiff does not need to show that the defendant was negligent in obtaining compensation for their losses. Additionally, the defendant's failure to warn of the dangers posed by asbestos is sufficient to prove negligence.

Breach of Contract

Implied warranties assure a product's suitability for its intended use. For instance, asbestos-containing manufacturers may be held accountable for damages if their unsafe goods contributed to customers' illnesses and death by infringing the implicit promise of merchantability.

If the manufacturer or seller of an asbestos product made a misleading representation about the product's quality that directly led to the consumer's decision to purchase or use the product, the manufacturer or seller might also be held liable for breach of express warranty.

Student Safety: Colleges and Universities Are Liable for Asbestos Exposure

College campuses must be aware of the asbestos-related risks their students face. The Environmental Advocacy Group for Colleges and Universities outlines several rules that educational institutions must adhere to throughout construction and restoration projects. Among these are the mandates to comply with the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants and to communicate with the Environmental Protection Agency about the management of asbestos-containing items.

As a parent or student of such a school, you should know what your campus does to keep you safe from asbestos risks. You should also be aware of any signs that may indicate the presence of asbestos anywhere on campus to protect yourself accordingly.

Bottom Line

Asbestos-related concerns have plagued college campuses for several years, and the potential risks are enormous. Whether the asbestos is left in ceiling tiles, floors, or even in old records or paper documents, proper safety precautions must always be taken when dealing with such potentially harmful material. In this way, campuses can better protect their students and employees from the dangers of asbestos exposure on college campuses.

If you suspect you are exposed to asbestos or have already been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, you must learn about your legal options. The first step is to contact a qualified attorney who can help you understand the steps of filing a lawsuit and what the future may hold.

Whether you are a patient, family member, or friend of someone affected by an asbestos-related illness, we're here to help you. With decades of experience, we can help you get fair compensation for your asbestos-related damages. All communication will be kept confidential, and you can be sure that we will do everything to protect your rights. Feel free to contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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