“County officials say they found what may be asbestos inside a now-sealed utility closet at the recently opened girls elementary school on the grounds of the former Edwin Gould property.
However, officials said the representatives for the property owner, Chestnut Ridge Ventures, LLC, refused to let an inspector representing the Rockland Health Department sample the material for testing after it was found during a Feb. 2 inspection.
A spokesman for the school and the property owner’s lawyer denied the material found posed a danger to students, faculty and administrators.
The asbestos inspector suggested the closet and nearby classroom be sealed, and said until the substance can be tested, the material should be presumed to be dangerous, according to a report by Mitchell Peligri of AM PH Environmental Inc.in Pomona.
“This material imposes an immediate health hazard which can result in death,” County Executive Ed Day said Friday, reading from Peligri’s report to the Health Department.
“We have friable asbestos there,” Day added. “This is abhorrent and shocking that people in charge of children would allow this.”
Damien LaVera, a school spokesman, said as a precaution, the closet and adjacent room have been sealed. He said air samples came back negative for asbestos, which only poses a danger if particles become airborne. He said the testing was done by EnviroTech Preservation Inc. and that the report would be given to the county next week.
LaVera said the girls at the school — ages 4 to 6 — never had access to the locked closet.”
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