Dumbarton Middle asbestos warnings part of routine work, spokesman says

Signs warning of asbestos contamination at Dumbarton Middle School in Towson appeared this week and set off some concern from students and parents.

However, school spokesman Charles Herndon said the signs were precautions taken in advance of minor renovations scheduled for the weekend.

Dumbarton Middle School Assistant Principal Chuck Bolger said a sink will be replaced in a second-floor custodial workroom, and that a small number of tiles that contain asbestos and were laid when the school opened in then 1950s must be removed.

"Because of that, we were just told that we have to inform everyone that the building has to be closed during that time," Bolger said. "(The contractors) put the signs up. We don't."

Herndon said the floor tiles  contain non-friable asbestos — meaning it does not appear in the atmosphere unless disturbed.

“It’s not anything that would typically be in that atmosphere, but any time you’re dealing with materials that contain asbestos that could become friable…you have to take precautions involved in asbestos abatement,” Herndon said.

One of those precautions, he said, involved posting the signs throughout the school.

Herndon said the work would begin late Friday afternoon and was expected to be completed Saturday.

“None of the work is going to take place when children are in the classroom,” Herndon said. “My understanding is it’ll all be done over the weekend and it doesn’t even involve any classroom space, or where students would normally be anyway.”

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