Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.2 Quality of the Outdoor and Indoor Environment

5.2.9 Prevention and Management of Toxic Substances Preventing Exposure to Asbestos or Other Friable Materials

Any asbestos, fiberglass, or other friable material or any material that is in a dangerous condition found within a facility or on the grounds of the facility should be repaired or removed. Repair usually involves either sealing (encapsulating) or covering asbestos material. Any repair or removal of asbestos should be done by a contractor certified to do in accordance with existing regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). No children or staff should be present until the removal and cleanup of the hazardous condition have been completed.

Pipe and boiler insulation should be sampled and examined in an accredited laboratory for the presence of asbestos in a friable or potentially dangerous condition.

Non-friable asbestos should be identified to prevent disturbance and/or exposure during remodeling or future activities.

Removal of significant hazards will protect the staff, children, and families who use the facility. Asbestos dust and fibers that are inhaled and reach the lungs can cause lung disease (1,2).
The mere presence of asbestos in a child care facility, home, or a building is not hazardous. The danger is that asbestos materials may become damaged over time. Damaged asbestos may release asbestos fibers and become a health hazard (2,3). The best thing to do with asbestos material that is in good condition is to leave it alone. Disturbing it may create a health hazard where none existed before (1).

Asbestos that is in a friable condition means that it is easily crumbled (2).

The National Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act of 1984 specifies requirements for removal of asbestos. Contact your local health department for additional information on asbestos regulations in your area. For more information regarding asbestos and applicable EPA regulations, contact regional offices of the EPA.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Asbestos in the home.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 2001. Toxicological profile for asbestos.
  3. Fiene, R. 2002. 13 indicators of quality child care: Research update. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.