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PFT Releases Action Plan for Asbestos in Schools

September 18, 2019

PHILADELPHIA—The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, through the PFT Health & Welfare Fund, today released an action plan for identifying and managing the abatement of asbestos-containing building materials (ACBMs) in high-risk areas in Philly’s public schools. “Healthy Schools Action Plan: Asbestos Crisis in Philly Schools” defines the danger and makes pointed recommendations for mitigating the health hazards caused by asbestos.

PFT’s Healthy Schools Action Plan lays out a series of “action items” for five key areas:

  1. Assessment and Evaluation;
  2. High-risk location identification;
  3. Urgent short-term response;
  4. Operations and maintenance; and
  5. Long-term abatement

The issue of asbestos isn’t new to the District, and the union has been conducting school assessments and reporting on the issue for for many years. However, recent news of asbestos hazards at schools like Meredith and Nebinger prompted a formalized and specific action plan that can be implemented at schools throughout the District. One example is T.M. Peirce Elementary School, where PFT representatives and elected leaders this morning got a firsthand look at the scope of the problem with asbestos and lead paint abatement.

“This isn’t a problem at one or two schools. That’s why we’ve developed a comprehensive action plan for every building where children and educators are in danger,” said PFT President Jerry Jordan.

The officials at today’s tour of Pierce noted that even an effective action plan cannot be implemented without the $100 million that would be required to address the District’s problems with asbestos and lead paint.

PA Senator Sharif Street, a member of the Fund Our Facilities Coalition, attended this morning’s tour at Peirce. “The conditions in this and other Philly schools are frightening and unacceptable,” he said, “I’m determined to get back to Harrisburg and work with my colleagues to secure the investment necessary to fix our children’s schools.”

Download “Healthy Schools Action Plan: Asbestos Crisis in Philly Schools”

Images: Lead and Asbestos Abatement Issues at T.M. Peirce

PFT President Jerry Jordan, PFTHW Chief Trustee Arthur Steinberg, and PA Senator Sharif Street got a firsthand look at the conditions inside T.M. Peirce Elementary School

PFT President Jerry Jordan views exposed and damaged asbestos pipe in the school's gym the

Asbestos insulation in gym – damaged by water leak from above – close look at water impact and repair work conducted

Damaged lead paint in 3rd floor classroom closet

Accessible asbestos insulation in gym

Jerry Jordan, PA Senator Sharif Street and Arthur Steinberg (PFTHW) visit a T.M. Pierce classroom

Accessible asbestos pipe insulation in Lunchroom A — bottom of pipe insulation, underneath metal “jacket” is exposed

T.M. Peirce – 09.16.2019 – Accessible asbestos pipe insulation in basement hallway — metal “jackets” not properly secured resulting in potential contact damage and exposure

Damaged lead paint work in 3rd floor classroom closet – near supplies

(l to r:) Jerry Jordan, Sharif Street and Arthur Steinberg talk with a PFT member about the impact of lead abatement efforts on her classroom

Damaged lead paint on ductwork in gym — “control” used is plastic wrap?

MORE: News Coverage of the PFT Action Plan

WURD: PFT President Jerry Jordan talks about PFT’s asbestos action plan with Solomon Jones on “Wake Up with WURD”

CBS 3: Philadelphia Federation Of Teachers Proposes $100 Million Cleanup Of Asbestos, Mold And Lead In More Than 175 Schools


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