University Asbestos: Students and Employees Exposed to Asbestos and at risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma, and pulmonary fibrosis

Students and university employees in Ohio may be at risk of developing serious health issues from remaining asbestos in college campus buildings across the state. A few of the notable Ohio universities that have faced scrutiny and legal action include the University of Cincinnati, Kent State University and Akron University.

Asbestos may cause asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other serious illnesses when inhaled, and it remains throughout many university buildings. If a campus building was constructed before the 1980s, it is probable that it contains some amount of asbestos, due to the prevalence of university asbestos use.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that millions of students, and thousands of teachers and university staff are still regularly in close contact with asbestos.

Universities now regularly have asbestos management sections written into student and employee handbooks. Because the majority of buildings on campus are full of asbestos, schools have adopted policies of coexisting with the toxic materials rather than try the difficult task of removing and disturbing asbestos.

The current policy at the University of Cincinnati, Akron and Kent State is to manage asbestos and not to remove it, makes harmful exposures possible and remains a serious health concern.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio personal injury lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of toxic tort and mesothelioma claims.

Contact an experienced attorney if you think you think an illness has developed from asbestos exposure at Kent State University, Akron University, or the University of Cincinnati.

The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Even brief exposure can cause serious illness.

The EPA has recommended that universities leave asbestos materials in place, and refrain from risking disturbing the toxic material. But when maintenance crews are not warned of asbestos in certain campus areas, exposure can lead to serious health issues. Exposure to loose, airborne fibers places all teachers, students and staff at risk for developing lung conditions, including mesothelioma and lung cancer.

The symptoms of mesothelioma can vary widely, and asbestos-related cancers and diseases may not present themselves until decades after initial exposure. Typically, mesothelioma will affect the tissue that surrounds the lungs, causing discomfort, and symptoms may include:

•    Chest pain
•    Painful coughing
•    Trouble swallowing
•    Shortness of breath
•    Lumps of tissue on chest and abdomen
•    Abdominal pain
•    Abdominal swelling
•    Weight loss

University Asbestos Use

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are asbestos-containing materials in the majority of Ohio schools. Students, teachers, and employees at the University of Cincinnati, Kent State or Akron may be at risk in many campus buildings, including classrooms, cafeterias, hallways and older recreational facilities.

Identifying these toxic materials can be difficult to the untrained eye. Unless an asbestos product is clearly labeled, it may be difficult to tell if it contains asbestos. Deteriorated areas around Ohio universities may be the most common asbestos hazards, most likely in the following locations:

•    Cement pipes
•    Steam Pipes
•    Boilers
•    Corrugated paper pipe wrap
•    Decorative insulation
•    Pipe and boiler insulation
•    Spray-applied fireproofing
•    Damaged wallboard, patching, drywall or plaster
•    Soundproofing material
•    Floor tiles—Vinyl or asphalt
•    ceiling panels
•    Old heating and air-conditioning equipment
•    Chipped paint
•    Vinyl tiles and vinyl sheet flooring
•    Caulk and construction glues
•    Floor and ceiling adhesives
•    Joint compounds and textured paints
•    Ceiling tiles
•    Furnace and stove insulation
•    Door seals in furnaces
•    Vermiculite insulation
•    Roofing, shingles, and siding
•    Furnace ducts
•    Coal stoves

Airborne Asbestos in the University of Cincinnati

The buildings at the University of Cincinnati are among campus buildings in Ohio with unsafe levels of asbestos. During 2011 renovations, air quality samples indicated an “unsatisfactory” level of asbestos in the buildings.

At the time, a University of Cincinnati Spokesperson said “most buildings” on campus had some asbestos in them. The Medical Director for the Cincinnati Health Department said in response to the report that the exposure could pose possible respiratory difficulties and mesothelioma.

Compensation for Victims of Mesothelioma

Due to years of employment in older buildings, teachers, school employees, and Maintenance Crews are among the occupations most likely to be exposed to asbestos at the workplace. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the education industry ranked second for mesothelioma deaths.

Often the removal of all asbestos on campus is impossible; however, Ohio universities have a responsibility to warn employees and students if there is a potential threat of exposure. Any student or employee of Kent State, Akron or the University of Cincinnati harmed on campus may seek legal action and rightful compensation for any asbestos-related illness.

Universities Asbestos Exposure

Ohio Universities, and schools around the nation have been the subject of asbestos abatement projects, and renovations that disturb toxic asbestos fibers that have the potential to cause serious damage to students, teachers, staff and maintenance crews. Some high-profile university lawsuits involving asbestos include Harvard University, which discovered asbestos in student housing in 2016.

The University of Maryland found 90 buildings contaminated with asbestos materials, and Temple University found a number of floor tiles that contained asbestos. The University of Montana has also found asbestos in school buildings.

The health concerns are not exaggerated, as exposure to asbestos for short or extended periods of time may cause irreversible health damage, leading to lung cancer, mesothelioma and other dangerous pulmonary conditions. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warns that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Recently, Sonoma State University was ordered to pay $2.9 million in fines by a state court over the mishandling of asbestos at one of its office buildings. One employee of the school was awarded $387,000 for mental suffering, emotional distress, and lost compensation.

There are thousands of pending asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits across the country, and new asbestos-related cancer cases diagnosed each year.

University Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits

There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, and inhaling asbestos fibers is proven to cause serious illnesses including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Occupational exposure is likely in buildings with loose asbestos materials, and specific cancers may develop over time.

If you or a loved one suffered an asbestos-related illness after working at Akron University, Kent State, the University of Cincinnati, or another Ohio university, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding Ohio university asbestos exposure.