Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber widely used in the construction and other industries. It is resistant to fire, heat, electrical contact, and chemical action. Because of these properties, asbestos was widely used in building materials during the last century. Most asbestos is immobilized in binding materials which do not release asbestos fibers into the air. Asbestos may be present in a building without endangering the health of building occupants. A number of building materials within WWU buildings contain asbestos. Most of these materials will not release asbestos fibers unless they are damaged.
WWU has procedures in place to properly inspect, maintain, and clean asbestos-containing materials to ensure the health and safety of students, staff, and visitors.
The Environmental Health and Safety office in partnership with Facilities Management assesses buildings which contain asbestos. Projects relating to asbestos include removal or encapsulation as required by law. The on-going health and safety of students, staff, and visitors are preeminent in scheduling asbestos-related work.
Asbestos-containing materials have been used in most building and homes constructed prior to 1980, and release of asbestos fibers is a hazard that is preventable. You can help protect yourself and others by:
- Avoiding tacking, nailing, screwing, drilling, or sawing into any building materials
- Be careful not to puncture the wrapping around any pipe.
- Never vacuum or try to clean up damaged building material which you may suspect contains asbestos.
More information about asbestos can be found online:
The Center for Disease Control's ToxFAQ Info sheet: Asbestos_FAQ.pdf
The Washington Department of Labor and Industries: L&I's Asbestos Page.