Environmental Health and Safety


Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools complies with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986 (AHERA) and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for asbestos management purposes.  Each school built prior to 1989 has been inspected for asbestos and is re-inspected every 3 years by North Carolina Health Hazards Control Unit licensed inspectors until the asbestos has been removed. Buildings are surveyed every 6 months by Building Services personnel to ensure any changes in condition result in appropriate response action. 


A Management Plan has been prepared for each CMS school that includes the location, condition and type of asbestos containing materials, re-inspection data and recommendations for response actions and programmatic information. The Management Plans are located in the Master Management Plan files located at Building Services. The most recent AHERA inspection data is available at each school’s front office and has been filed with the State. Buildings without asbestos are also required to have an asbestos management plan. The plan in schools without asbestos includes a management plan cover sheet and verification that no asbestos is located at the school. 


Buildings are surveyed prior to renovation and demolition for asbestos. NESHAP asbestos survey information is incorporated into the project specifications and design for occupant and labor safety purposes.   NESHAP inspections include additional materials not generally included in the AHERA surveys referenced above.  For instance, roofs and building exteriors are included in the NESHAP surveys whereas they are not included in AHERA asbestos surveys.


"Asbestos" is the name given to a naturally occurring group of minerals composed of tiny, easily inhaled fibers. Because of its many useful characteristics, including fire and heat resistance, asbestos has been used since the mid 1800’s in the manufacture of some 3,000 different products. Common products include floor tile, linoleum, cement siding, roofing, pipe insulation, sprayed-on fireproofing, and decorative ceiling treatments.

In many products, such as vinyl floor tile and siding, asbestos is combined with a binding material so that it is not readily released into the air. However, if the materials are sanded or crushed, asbestos-containing dusts may become airborne and have the potential to be inhaled. The asbestos fibers may then enter the lungs where they tend to stay because of their shape.  Asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and other lung disease that may not appear until many years after exposure.