The school board has ordered the removal of asbestos insulation in five schools after a report released last week showed that the cancer-causing mineral was present in 31 of the 32 schools in the Pomona Unified School District.
The five "critical" schools in the district, a district administrator said, contain friable asbestos, a decayed form of the substance that is brittle and more likely to release breathable fibers.
None of the asbestos is considered dangerous in its present state, although experts say the decayed asbestos in the five schools would begin releasing the toxic fibers within 5 to 10 years if not removed.
An independent laboratory, Hall-Kimbrell Environmental Services of South El Monte, was hired by the district this summer to check the schools for contamination, and found insulation containing from 2% to 85% asbestos in the walls and ceilings and around water heaters and other fixtures in the schools. Richard L. Donoghue, assistant superintendent for business services, said federal law requires only that school districts check for asbestos and notify parents if it is present, although it provides no legal recourse for parents concerned for the safety of their children. Notification packets were being prepared Wednesday for mailing to parents.