Watchdog: EPA asbestos protection for schoolchildren lagging

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency’s internal watchdog is faulting the agency’s monitoring of regional programs that determine whether teachers and pupils are being exposed to asbestos at school.

The EPA’s Office of the Inspector General issued the report Monday.

Asbestos can cause lung diseases, cancer and other health problems. The EPA’s watchdog office says the EPA is responsible for checking whether local officials are checking for asbestos in schools and cleaning it up.

The inspector general’s report says half of the EPA’s regional districts only check for asbestos in schools if they get a specific complaint. The report says some local EPA offices have eliminated resources for asbestos oversight for schools.

The EPA is citing dwindling resources and competing priorities.

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