Hazard Assessment for Asbestos

Who is it for?

The program is currently limited to City of Philadelphia schools.

  • Parents
  • Students
  • Teachers
  • School and district staff

If you have any questions, call us at 215-573-9076 or email us at prcceh@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Hazard Assessments for Asbestos in Schools

Philadelphia, like many older cities, has numerous school buildings that contain asbestos. Deferred maintenance has led to delays in the repairs of asbestos containing materials in schools. Since 2019, eleven schools have been partially or fully closed due to damaged asbestos materials while 80% of the 214 Philadelphia schools are believed to contain asbestos materials.

Children may be more at risk of exposure to friable asbestos in schools because of their level of activity. Parents have been appropriately concerned about the asbestos exposure of their children and are not sure how to evaluate the hazard. Should they complain and wait for needed repairs or demand school closure?

Although the most serious effects of asbestos exposure arise many years later in the form of mesothelioma and other cancers, exposure to asbestos at any stage in life can increase the risk of cancer. We believe that parents, students, teachers and staff deserve answers.

The Program

In partnership with the Philadelphia Healthy Schools Initiative, our Center has designed a program to use federally required Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) reports on the condition of asbestos in each school and analyze the hazard that it poses.

View currently available reports


We will use the AHERA reports to design school specific communication materials for parents and staff beginning in elementary and middle schools in the most environmentally vulnerable neighborhoods in Philadelphia. This program is expected to help clarify where there are, and are not, significant risks to human health.


How do I participate?

Philly Healthy Schools Initiative LogoAs we assess the hazards and produce reports, we will engage with parents and teachers to ensure that the circumstances in the schools reflect what is in the AHERA reports. We will be starting with the most environmentally vulnerable elementary and middle schools. Complete the form below to have your name added to our list. When we start to evaluate your school, we will reach out to you for support and collaboration.


Center Researchers

Dr. Marilyn Howarth
University of Pennsylvania

Marilyn V. Howarth, MD, FACOEM

Marilyn Howarth is the Deputy Director of the Philadelphia Regional Center for Children’s Environmental Health. Within the Center,…

Learn More
Related Programs and Resources
Teachers in a classroom for training
PRCCEH Program

Teachers Institute of Philadelphia Environmental Health Curriculum

Teacher training to develop curriculum on environmental health topics.

Learn More
Tired child being observed by two doctors.
PRCCEH Program

Regional Consultations on Environmental Health

Consultations for clinicians caring for patients with lead poisoning and environmental health issues

Learn More
Toddler playing in a sandbox.
PRCCEH Program

Pilot Project Funding

Funding for researchers and nonprofit organizations for innovative children's environmental health research and implementing that research in the community.

Learn More
Scroll to Top