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E.P.A. Will Provide Information on Asbestos

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Washington--A federally sponsored task force on asbestos in schools agreed last week to revise an Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet to help school officials, building contractors, and the general public learn more about the health hazards associated with the substance.

The action by the 10-member advisory panel, which was established under the Asbestos School Hazard Detection and Control Act of 1980, stemmed from a decision made during its last meeting in October 1983 to review existing materials on the subject and to identify key populations who should receive them.

"The major remaining assignment for this group is to compile medical, scientific, and technical information and to disseminate it to the public," said Stanley W. Kruger, the Education Department's representative on the panel. "That's the greatest thing the task force can contribute at this point."

But other members of the group, which includes scientific and technical experts from five federal agencies as well as five scientists and representatives of other levels of government, argued that they lacked the time, staff, and financial resources to conduct a review of the type advocated by Mr. Kruger.

The panelists compromised by agreeing to amend the six-page epa document, which was made available to the public several weeks ago.

Background Information

The fact sheet gives background on the enactment of the 1980 law, explains potential health risks asso-ciated with exposure to asbestos, and tells the public where to obtain more information on the subject.

The panel agreed to revise it in order to provide four target populations with more detailed information: school administrators and school-board members; contractors and physical-plant supervisors; teachers, support staff, parents and students; and the general public.

In a related development, the National Education Association announced last week that it would send a checklist on how to determine whether a school has an asbestos problem and what to do if it does to districts throughout the nation.

The checklist, which will be inserted in the association's newsletter, is part of the nea's campaign to publicize and alleviate the hazards of asbestos.--tm

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