A burst water pipe at Bishop Scalibrini Elementary School has led to the removal of asbestos from the facility.
Officials confirmed that over the Christmas break, a frozen water pipe burst in a portapak at Bishop Scalibrini on Central Parkway West. A section of the floor had to be replaced because of the water hurt.
Bruce Campbell, general manager of communications and community relations with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, (DPCDSB) confirmed the floor contained non-friable asbestos.
When asbestos is disturbed, it releases fibres into the air that, if inhaled, can lead to a myriad of health problems, including a scarring of the lungs, mesothelioma or cancer.
“If the school board followed proper procedures, this is absolutely a low-risk procedure,” said Rob Thomas, chief technical officer with Pinchin Ltd., an environmental engineering consulting firm.
Describing non-friable asbestos as extremely hard to grind down by hand, Thomas said its removal is an incredibly common procedure.
“But there is a perception issue around asbestos abatement, especially in schools. People are very sensitive about it,” said Thomas.
In April 2016, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), in support of the Canadian Labour Congress, called for a nationwide ban on asbestos from school buildings within Peel.
“We are concerned for our members, students and school communities as asbestos-containing materials such as ceiling tiles and pipe insulation can be present in aging school buildings within view and within reach,” wrote ETFO president Sam Hammond in a news release at the time.
There are more than 90 sites listed on the DPCDSB that are suspected to have materials containing asbestos, most of which were constructed before the year 2000.
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