Asbestos Awareness


Asbestos FAQ's

In the interest of promoting a safe environment for campus residents and Facilities Services employees, Facilities Services is taking steps to actively comply with federal OSHA and EPA regulations regarding the labeling of asbestos containing materials at UAF. It is our intent to provide knowledge and awareness to those who work and live on campus on how to avoid the potential hazards associated with contacting asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals used in certain products, such as building materials and vehicle brakes. It was a desirable additive to products because it does not burn and is very strong and durable.

Asbestos occurs as narrow fibers, which can be inhaled if they become airborne. Undisturbed or intact asbestos is not dangerous. Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is disturbed and the fibers become airborne. These fibers can damage the lung and lead to lung diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and/or lung cancer.

Asbestos can be found in common buildings materials, such as floor tiles, ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, fire-proofing materials and in the glue (mastic) used on floor tile and cove base. You cannot always tell by looking at a material whether or not it contains asbestos. This is why the UAF Facilities Services Asbestos Shop is labeling every room on campus that has asbestos-containing materials with stickers to indicate which materials in the room contain asbestos. These stickers will help occupants and Facilities Services workers know which materials they should avoid disturbing.

The stickers placed in your location by the UAF Facilities Services Asbestos Shop will tell you which items within the labeled space contain asbestos. You should not disturb these items. For example, if your ceiling tiles contain asbestos, do not move the tiles for any reason. Similarly, if you have asbestos-containing floor tiles in your office, do not drag furniture across them or otherwise cause damage to the floor tiles or the wax coating that seals the tiles. Damage to floor tiles from furniture can be avoided with the use of roll mats beneath office chairs. If you find that a ceiling or floor tile has become damaged, contact Facilities Services immediately (474-7000) to report this.

Asbestos removal (abatement) is a time-consuming procedure, involving enclosure of the area to prevent fibers from entering occupied areas. Asbestos abatement at UAF is done either in whole or in part as buildings are renovated or modified. It is also done any time there are damaged materials that may contain asbestos. For example, if a pipe covered with asbestos-containing insulation is leaking, a containment area will be set up to remove the asbestos and the pipe will be repaired. Afterward, the pipe is reinsulated with non-asbestos-containing insulation.

Here are some links to web sites with information about asbestos:

OSHA website on asbestos

You can also contact UAF Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management if you have any concerns or questions: 474-6771 or 474-5413.

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