The Environmental Protection Agency said yesterday that it has distributed $45 million among 341 schools to help finance removal and control of cancer-causing asbestos particles.
"These grants will help our country's neediest schools eliminate a potentially serious threat to the health of students," said John A. Moore, assistant EPA administrator for pesticides and toxic substances.
The money, made available through the Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act of 1984, is intended to help schools with "the greatest financial need and the most potential for asbestos hazard," Moore said.
The EPA chose the 341 schools to receive assistance from among 4,800 applicants for federal funds.
The District will receive $284,000 for Ballou High School, while Maryland will receive $1.549 million for work at schools in Baltimore and Bel Air. Virginia will receive no funds.
Under the law, the EPA will provide interest-free loans, grants and technical help in evaluating the potential for asbestos hazards in school buildings.
An EPA survey last fall indicated that about 35 percent of U.S. schools contained hazardous, friable asbestos -- asbestos that crumbles when dry. The substance is a threat to health only when it turns to powder and airborne asbestos fibers are inhaled.
The EPA said that of the schools with friable asbestos problems, 90 percent had either completed efforts to bring the substance under control or at least begun planning the projects by January 1984.