Many buildings at the University were constructed using asbestos-containing materials during a time when the health implications of doing so were unknown. The EPA has determined that these asbestos-containing building materials do not have to be removed but can be managed in place as long as they are undamaged. Whenever these materials need to be removed, the University employs special contractors to ensure the work is done without exposure to building occupants.
Virtually all these asbestos-containing construction materials are within walls, above ceilings, or are a part of the sealed insulation on pipes. As such, they are not generally accessible to the regular occupants of the buildings. These areas are periodically accessed by University personnel that inspect the stability of the asbestos-containing materials. Additionally, only asbestos that is friable, meaning easily rubbed, crumbled or pulverized into a powder, poses a health risk. To pose such a health risk the fibers must become airborne and breathed into the lungs.
Building occupants should not perform operations that would cause damage to the walls, floors or ceilings which might damage and release to the air the asbestos contained within these materials.
Regardless of the low health risk of these asbestos-containing building materials, California law (CH&S Code 25915 to 25924) requires that building owners inform the occupants, in writing, that they work in a building that contains asbestos-containing building materials.
You have a right, under the law, to the following information:
- Results of any asbestos survey or air monitoring done in your building
- Description of the specific locations where asbestos is present in your building
- Review the asbestos management plan, if prepared, for your building
- Information regarding the potential health risks
If you wish to report any dust or evidence of disturbance to an asbestos-containing material, or review any of this information, please contact Joe Murphy at the Environmental Health and Safety Office at extension 6464 to arrange for an appointment.
Additional information regarding asbestos and potential health risks can be obtained by contacting local and state public health agencies.