What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is usually excavated from open-pit mines. The asbestos rock is then crushed to free the fibers. Asbestos is mixed with a material that binds the fibers together so they can be used in many different products. In a bonded state, asbestos poses no danger to you. The three most common types of asbestos found in today’s industrial applications include:

  • Chrysotile – The most often used asbestos, it is highly resistant to heat and can be easily spun into asbestos cloth.
  • Amosite – Commonly referred to as brown asbestos, amosite is highly resistant to heat and acid. It has been used mainly in bulk form for heat insulation and molded into pipe insulation.
  • Crocidolite – Highly resistant to acid, it is used to make electric battery cases and acid-resistant cement pipes. Crocidilite is also commonly referred to as blue asbestos.

Even if asbestos is in your building, this is usually NOT a serious problem. Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop health problems. The mere presence of asbestos in a home or building is not automatically a hazard. The danger is that asbestos materials may become damaged overtime.

The Best thing to do with Asbestos Material in good condition is to leave it alone.
Not all types of building materials at the University have been assessed for the presence as asbestos. Materials must be presumed as asbestos-containing unless proven otherwise. Common locations and uses for asbestos in public and commercial buildings include the following:

  • Some vinyl floor tiles to strengthen them and on the backing of some vinyl floor sheeting
  • Patching compounds manufactured before 1977 used to patch walls and ceiling joints
  • Wall and ceiling insulation
  • Fluffy, friable asbestos sprayed on ceiling tiles for fire-proofing protection
  • Sprayed or troweled onto ceilings or walls as an acoustical or decorative treatment
  • Insulation around pipes, heating ducts, furnaces and boilers
  • Some roofing shingles, siding shingles and sheets have been manufactured with asbestos
  • Sprayed in steel reinforcing beams as fire-proofing
  • Brake lining and clutch pads