Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that is an almost indestructible. Asbestos containing materials (ACM) may be found in many different products and many different places. Examples of products that might contain asbestos are:
- sprayed-on fire proofing and insulation
- insulation for pipes and boilers
- wall and ceiling insulation
- ceiling tiles
- floor tile
Asbestos materials present a potential hazard only if the material can be easily broken up by hand (called friability) and becomes airborne. Non-friable ACM that is in good condition is not a hazard and can be safely managed in buildings.
Breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of:
- lung cancer.
- mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest lining and the abdominal cavity.
- asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.
Probably everyone has breathed asbestos fibers. It is rare, however, for people exposed to small amounts of asbestos to develop these health problems.
While the newer DU buildings do not contain ACM, some older buildings may contain ACM. Wherever identified ACM is found to be in poor condition or where building renovation is planned, ACM is removed using regulated methods to protect building occupants.
If you see damaged or deteriorated materials, such as floor or ceiling tiles or pipe insulation that may be asbestos avoid contact with the material. Notify the EH&S Director at 303-871-7501 so that the material's asbestos content can be determined.
The Environmental Health and Safety Department should be notified prior to any projects requiring abatement.