Medical experts help relieve asbestos fears from Lafayette Academy

Medical experts help relieve asbestos fears from Lafayette Academy

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After asbestos exposure during school hours, Lafayette Academy parents have demanded answers, concerned if their children were still healthy.

Chronic coughing, difficulty walking, shortness of breath are all symptoms of asbestos-related diseases.

But Dr. Dean Edell with the Children's Hospital of New Orleans says the children and families of Lafayette don't need to worry about any of them.

"As a parent of three I'd be concerned too, and I can tell you honestly it would not concern me whatsoever. And I mean that 100 percent," said Edell.

Lafayette Academy parents were notified of asbestos in the building, and that their children would be split between McDonough 35 and Dunbar until construction is completed.

"Could things have been done better? Sure, absolutely. But at the end of the day, was any significant harm done to these children inadvertently? No." said Edell.

Edell says the reported levels from a 2017 DEQ report are minimal. He says it would take decades of saturated asbestos exposure to start to cause significant harm, even in adults. But concerned parents are still angry they have to worry about this issue with their children in the first place.

The choice foundation hosted a question and answer session Thursday with Dr. Edell and an air quality expert, both independent of the school system.

Parent, Demirah Howard says her one major concern this evening was making sure her child was not affected by harmful asbestos. Leaving tonight, she feels more relieved her child will be OK. Her attention now turning back to the school district.

"We know asbestos is in every building in New Orleans because it's just been there, but its more the fact we're just finding out. I really just feel the school board should have been here," said Howard.

She and other parents still want answers why they didn't know sooner, and are school leaders making the best decisions for their children in the coming school year.

"We just want to get to the bottom of everything as parents and make sure everything gets taken care of," said Howard.

One of the concerns tonight, McDonogh 35 is still under construction, which opens the possibility for more asbestos exposure. Choice Foundation leaders tonight said they would get the school independently assessed before allowing kids inside the building.

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