To all UMHB Building Occupants
Asbestos is a mineral that was commonly used in the early 1900s to the 1970s in a variety of building construction materials and is durable, is fire retardant, resists corrosion, and insulates well. Asbestos was banned (for new applications) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the 1970s. The State of Texas requires building owners to notify building occupants of the presence of asbestos in the work place. Notification at UMHB will be accomplished annually and the notice will be posted on the Safety Department site.
Associated Health Risks
Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) that is in good condition does not pose a health risk. ACM becomes a problem when, due to damage, disturbance, or deterioration over time, it releases fibers into the air. If inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Therefore, the EPA has recommended that ACM either be removed (if significantly damaged or during renovation projects), or be managed in place through periodic inspections and prompt repair when damage is noticed.
Asbestos surveys have been conducted in university buildings (i.e pre-1980) to identify locations where ACM is present. A spreadsheet was created listing all surveys, all ACM identified, and all abatements (removal) conducted. An Asbestos O&M Manual was created to provide guidelines for maintenance of ACM in good condition until removal becomes necessary. The O&M Manual is located at the Campus Planning office in the Curtis Mansion building and is available for review during business hours.
Asbestos in the Workplace
To avoid exposure, it is important to
- Know what types of materials may contain asbestos,
- Avoid any damaged areas, and
- Contact the Asbestos Program Manager (APM) when damage is discovered.
Common applications of asbestos in buildings include:
- sprayed-on fireproofing, soundproofing, or thermal insulation;
- acoustic plaster soundproofing or ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, cement asbestos (transite);
- floor tile and mastic; and
- linoleum and backing.
Buildings built from 1950-1970 typically contain some ACM, but not all of them contain asbestos. The university’s management plan pinpoints ACM and its locations throughout the university.
To prevent potential release of asbestos fibers, employees must avoid:
- drilling, cutting or perforating materials;
- hanging items from insulation or ceiling tiles;
- disturbing or damaging material while moving or transporting items;
- storing items on top of insulated pipes; and
- using brooms, dry brushes, or standard vacuums in the vicinity of damaged insulated pipe.
Asbestos is maintained if it is in good condition and is removed if necessary by a certified contractor during remodeling or demolition projects. Always contact the Asbestos Program Manager (APM) prior to disturbing known or suspect areas and immediately concerning any damaged areas.
Page last updated January 04, 2023