Asbestos and School Buildings
Public and non-profit private schools have distinct regulatory requirements to protect school children and school employees from asbestos exposure. This page provides information on these requirements as well as resource materials for schools and parents.
- Learn Federal Requirements
- Find Resources for Schools and Parents
- En Español, Información para parientes, maestros y otros empleados escolares
Learn Federal Requirements
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and its regulations require public school districts and non-profit schools including charter schools and schools affiliated with religious institutions to:
- Inspect their schools for asbestos-containing building material
- Prepare management plans and to take action to prevent or reduce asbestos hazards
These legal requirements are founded on the principle of "in-place" management of asbestos-containing material. Removal of these materials is not usually necessary unless the material is severely damaged or will be disturbed by a building demolition or renovation project.
Personnel working on asbestos activities in schools must be trained and accredited in accordance with The Asbestos Model Accreditation Plan.
In addition, if removal of asbestos during renovation is warranted, or school buildings will be demolished, public school districts and non-profit schools must comply with the Asbestos National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).
Read more about NESHAP regulations for renovation and demolition of buildings.
In addition, state and local agencies may have more stringent standards than those required by the Federal government.
How Schools Comply with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)
The AHERA regulations require public school districts and non-profit schools to:
- Perform an original inspection to determine whether asbestos-containing materials are present and then re-inspect asbestos-containing material in each school every three years
- Develop, maintain, and update an asbestos management plan and keep a copy at the school
- Provide yearly notification to parent, teacher, and employee organizations on the availability of the school's asbestos management plan and any asbestos-related actions taken or planned in the school
- Designate a contact person to ensure the responsibilities of the public school district or the non-profit school are properly implemented
- Perform periodic surveillance of known or suspected asbestos-containing building material
- Ensure that trained and licensed professionals perform inspections and take response actions
- Provide custodial staff with asbestos-awareness training
School Asbestos Management Plans
Public school districts and non-profit schools are required to develop, maintain and update asbestos management plans and to keep a copy at each individual schools. These plans are required to document the recommended asbestos response actions, the location of the asbestos within the school, and any action taken to repair and remove the material.
The school authority must maintain records to be included in the Asbestos Management Plan. These records, among other things, include:
- Name and address of each school building and whether the building has asbestos-containing building material, and the type of asbestos-containing material
- Date of the original school inspection
- Plan for re-inspections
- Blueprint that clearly identifies the location of asbestos-containing building materials that remains in the school
- Description of any response action or preventive measures taken to reduce asbestos exposure
- Copy of the analysis of any building, and the name and address of any laboratory that sampled the material
- Name, address, and telephone number of the “designated person” or contact to ensure the duties of the school district or non-profit private school are carried out
- Description of steps taken to inform workers, teachers, and students or their legal guardians about inspections, re-inspections, response actions, and periodic surveillance
Parents, teachers, and school employees, or their representatives, have the right to inspect the school’s asbestos management plan. Schools are required to notify parent-teacher organizations (such as PTAs) once a year about the availability of the school’s asbestos management plan and asbestos-related activity taking place within the school. The school must make the plan available for inspection within five working days of it being requested.
For a complete list of School Asbestos Management Plan Requirements, see the Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule.
Find Resources for Schools and Parents
How to Manage Asbestos in School Buildings: The AHERA Designated Person's Self Study Guide (January 1996)
AHERA Asbestos Management Plan Self-Audit Checklist for Designated Persons (February 2009)
Model AHERA Asbestos Management Plan for Local Education Agencies (February 2009)
The ABC's of Asbestos in Schools (August 2003)
Asbestos in Schools Fact Sheet (August 2003)
EPA's Creating Healthy Indoor Environments in Schools Website
What Local Education Agencies (LEAs) Should Know About the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) (March 2005)
Find Labs for Testing Asbestos
Find frequent questions on schools
En Español, Información para parientes, maestros y otros empleados escolares
El ABC del Asbesto en las Escuelas
Plan de manejo de asbesto de AHERA, Lista de comprobación de auditoría interna para Personas designadas
Modelo AHERA para el Plan de manejo de asbesto para las Agencias locales de educación