Asbestos Management Program
Asbestos Management Program
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a general term referring to six naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals. Asbestos fibers have been used since ancient times. Asbestos gained widespread use in manufacturing, and building insulation in the late 19th century due to its high tensile strength, its flexibility, resistance to heat and corrosive chemicals
What are the risks associated with asbestos?
Asbestos is a known carcinogen (cancer causing agent). The danger of asbestos exposure can occur when asbestos fibers are released into the air they can be inhaled or swallowed. Asbestos has no smell or taste and asbestos fibers are so small that they are not visible to the naked eye. The fibers can lodge in the lung or other body tissues and over time lead to the development of diseases. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses, including mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer) and asbestosis (a progressive fibrotic disease of the lungs caused by relatively heavy exposure to asbestos). The symptoms of these diseases, however, can take 30 – 40 years to appear.
How Was Asbestos Used?
Asbestos was widely used as a binding agent in thousands of building materials from the early 1900’s until the early 1980’s. Some typical uses of asbestos include drywall taping compound, cement pipes, vinyl floor tiles, boiler and pipe insulation, automotive breaks and clutches, electric wiring insulation, structural fireproofing and roofing materials.
Where is Asbestos at ASU?
Many of ASU University’s buildings constructed prior to 1985 contain asbestos, including floor tiles, mastics, HVAC duct tape, pipe insulation, roofing, spray-applied ceiling textures, ceiling tiles and drywall taping compounds; therefore asbestos management is a major concern. Asbestos becomes a health risk when the materials are disturbed and microscopic asbestos fibers become airborne and are inhaled. When left alone and remain undamaged, the materials present little to no health risk. The current ASU asbestos policy is to manage asbestos containing materials in place.
Management in-place means that asbestos containing materials are disturbed or removed only when necessary. Typically this is prior to building renovations or demolitions, when the material could be disturbed or when the material becomes damaged.
EH&S Program Information
Federal, state and county agencies regulate asbestos-related activities at ASU. Only state-approved asbestos contractors and consultants are utilized for asbestos-related work.
ASU’s Asbestos Management Program was developed jointly by Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) and the Capital Programs Management Group (CPMG). The major components of the program are:
- Inspections of buildings or areas to be renovated
- Hazard evaluations
- Air monitoring
- Asbestos abatement or repair
Training - Training is required for Employees who may contact or disturb building materials suspected of containing asbestos and employees whose duties require entry to the ASU tunnel system. EH&S offers a 2-Hour Asbestos Awareness Training class. For class information and registration logon using your ASUrite user name and password then search for Asbestos Awareness.
Inspections of buildings or areas to be renovated - All asbestos containing materials (ACM) are identified prior to demolition, renovation or other activities that may cause disturbance to these materials. Building surveys that include material sampling and analysis are performed in accordance with EPA and OSHA requirements.
Hazard evaluations - Known asbestos containing materials are periodically inspected for any changes in condition. If materials are found to have become damaged, the materials are repaired or removed.
Air monitoring - Periodic air monitoring is conducted in the ASU Utility Tunnel system and in buildings which are known to contain friable asbestos-containing materials (fireproofing, sprayed-on ceilings, ceiling tiles, etc.). Air monitoring is also conducted for ASU personnel whose work duties require them to enter the tunnel system, Air Monitoring Report.
Asbestos abatement or repair - Asbestos abatement is the removal, repair, encapsulation, enclosure, or clean-up of asbestos containing material. Abatement is performed in academic and non-academic buildings and utility tunnel systems to assist departments with planned renovation or maintenance activity and to ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations. Unplanned emergency abatement is performed to remove asbestos materials from mechanical equipment to allow critical repairs to be performed, or clean up an area contaminated by asbestos when a building system suddenly fails (e. g. roof leaks, steam system failures).
For Asbestos Questions: Contact: Dave Jaggers, Asbestos and Environmental Safety Specialist
For additional information, please see:
- Center for Disease Control
- American Cancer Society
- U.S.Environmental Protection Agency - EPA Asbestos
- U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Agency - OSHA Asbestos
- Government Printing Office, Labor Code 1910.1001, General Industry Asbestos
- Government Printing Office, Labor Code 1926.1101, Construction, Asbestos
- Government Printing Office, EPA 40 CFR 763, Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)
- Government Printing Office, EPA 40 CFR 61.145, National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)
Maricopa County Department of Air Quality
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