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Philadelphia Charter School Settles Asbestos Management Violations

Release Date: 08/06/2008
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 /

PHILADELPHIA (August 6, 2008) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with Renaissance Advantage Charter School stemming from violations of the Asbestos Hazards Emergency Response Act (AHERA). Renaissance is located at 1712 S. 56th Street, Philadelphia, PA.

AHERA is the federal law requiring schools to inspect and manage asbestos containing building materials. According to EPA, a February 21, 2007 inspection resulted in four violations, including:

1) failure to conduct initial inspections to identify any friable and non-friable asbestos containing materials located in the schoolbuildings. Any building leased or acquired on or after October 12, 1988, that is to be used as a school building, is required to conduct initial inspections for asbestos.

2) failure to conduct reinspections of the school building for asbestos.

3) failure to develop and submit an asbestos management plan for the school building to an agency designated by the governor,

4) failure to notify in writing parent, teacher and employee organizations of the availability of management plans.

A management plan helps prevent exposure to asbestos by ensuring that any maintenance or other routine school activities will not result in the disturbance of asbestos. In addition, whenever asbestos needs to be disturbed, only accredited persons are to be used by the school. Annual notification on the availability of the management plan, allows parents, teachers and employee organizations the opportunity for reviewing all information regarding asbestos in the school.

Renaissance was assessed a civil penalty of $5,525. Since the school has spent $2,754 to comply with AHERA regulations, the penalty has been reduced to $2,771.

Asbestos was once widely used in building materials due to its insulation and fire retardant properties. Damaged or disturbed asbestos may release fibers which, if inhaled, create a risk of asbestosis, lung cancer, and other respiratory illnesses. However, intact, undisturbed asbestos materials generally do not pose a health risk, if managed in accordance with AHERA safeguards. For general information about asbestos and its regulation, visit Information on asbestos in schools is available at