Fact Sheet - Asbestos
Asbestos is a general name for a group of naturally-occurring minerals composed of small fibers. It is common in many building materials. Various diseases have been associated with industrial exposure to asbestos fibers, and the extensive use of asbestos in building materials has raised some concern about exposure in non-industrial settings.
The presence of asbestos in a building does not mean that the health of building occupants is endangered. As long as asbestos-containing materials remain in good condition and are not disturbed or damaged, exposure is unlikely. On the other hand, damaged, deteriorated, or disturbed asbestos-containing materials can lead to fiber release (exposure), and unauthorized removal or disturbance of asbestos materials is not only potentially unhealthy but also illegal. Only trained, certified workers should handle or remove asbestos-containing materials.
Unauthorized or uncontrolled disturbance of asbestos materials is a violation of UK policy and can lead to civil or criminal liability under EPA or OSHA regulations.
Types of Asbestos Building Materials
The following are some types of materials that may contain asbestos:
- floor tile
- boiler insulation
- ceiling tiles
- tank insulation
- acoustical finishes
- floor tile mastic
- fume hood liners
- pipe insulation
- HVAC duct wrap
- lab countertops
- pipe fittings
- fire doors
- chalkboard glue
- siding shingles
In general, buildings built after 1980 are presumed to not have any asbestos-containing materials (ACM). However, there can be exceptions, and thus OSHA requires due diligence on the part of building owners to identify potential ACM in post-1980 buildings (reference).
Building materials that may contain asbestos must be treated as if they do until laboratory testing proves that they do not contain asbestos. If you have any questions about whether a material contains asbestos, ask your supervisor/resident advisor/house corporation or call UK's Environmental Management Department at (859) 323-6280.
- Do not damage, disturb, or remove asbestos-containing materials. Only trained and certified workers should handle or remove asbestos-containing materials.
- Promptly report potential asbestos debris or damaged asbestos materials (e.g., damaged pipe insulation and loose/missing floor tiles) that you see to your supervisor/resident advisor/house corporation. The materials may already have been tested or, if not, will be sampled and tested.
- When in doubt, ask.
- If you see improper cleaning or maintenance activities being done on suspect materials, see that they are stopped and contact your supervisor/resident advisor/house corporation.