Classroom Dangers You Might Not Know About

Written by  //  2022/09/23  //  Campus Safety  //  Comments Off on Classroom Dangers You Might Not Know About

Classroom Dangers You Might Not Know About

Educational institutions are supposed to be places of safety, but that isn’t always the case. In addition to the high-profile occurrences you might hear about in the news, there are other, less obvious dangers in schools that people need to be aware of. Discover a few classroom dangers you might not know about.

Asbestos in Schools

By now, most people have heard of asbestos and the dangers it poses. Asbestos is a mineral with natural resistance to heat, electricity, and corrosion, which made it seem like a good choice for construction materials in the mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, exposure to asbestos can cause chronic health problems like breathing issues and several types of cancer.

What you probably don’t realize is that asbestos was never banned in the US, and schools are only required to manage asbestos in place. This means many schools, especially older ones, still have asbestos present in vinyl flooring, insulation, and even drywall.

Dangerous Gases

Many schools also have a problem with dangerous gases seeping into classrooms from boilers, backed-up sewage lines, and car exhaust. Even overcrowding can cause minor problems for students since too much carbon dioxide in the air makes people sleepy, dizzy, and unable to focus. If you or someone you know is having trouble staying focused during certain classes, it might be that poor air circulation is to blame.

Cleaning supplies are another common source of poisonous gases in schools. They are especially problematic in older buildings with poor ventilation and overworked HVAC systems.

Poor Fire Evacuation

Certain laws require public schools to practice safe evacuation procedures at least four times per year, but knowing the procedure doesn’t help schools that are poorly designed. Older buildings and those that have had hasty expansions often lack good pathways for escaping the building. Additionally, some older schools have windows that barely open, creating additional fire dangers.

Lead Contamination

Lead is another classroom danger you might not know about. Like asbestos, many people seem to think lead is a problem of the past since schools no longer use lead pencils and other more obvious sources of lead. According to one 2016-17 study by the US Government Accountability Office, only 12 percent of schools they surveyed checked their buildings for lead paint. Of those schools that did check, roughly half found lead paint on school premises.

The results of this study are alarming because they reveal that few schools are checking for known sources of lead, and about half are finding lead when they do check. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think there are probably many more schools with lead paint that are not bothering to check for it. So, for those students and staff members, lead remains a hidden danger.

Making Schools Safer

If you or a loved one attends a public school, try to push for inspections and implementation of devices that monitor dangerous chemicals. Schools are places where people go to learn, and they must be able to do so safely.

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