Asbestos at Clemson University
Since asbestos was a common building material for many years, most older buildings - including some on the Clemson campus - have some asbestos-containing building materials.
The most common way for asbestos fibers to enter the body is through inhalation. Asbestos containing material is not generally a hazard unless it is releasing dust or fibers into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested. Asbestos is most hazardous when it is friable (easily crumbled by hand) and releasing fibers into the air. Sprayed on asbestos insulation is highly friable. Asbestos floor tile is not.
Asbestos-containing ceiling tiles, floor tiles, undamaged laboratory cabinet tops, shingles, fire doors, siding shingles, etc. will not release asbestos fibers unless they are disturbed or damaged in some way. If an asbestos ceiling tile is drilled or broken, for example, it may release fibers into the air. If it is left alone and not disturbed, it will not. This form of asbestos containing material is called non-friable.
Non-friable asbestos can be found in several buildings on campus. As long as the integrity of these non-friable materials is maintained, they do not present a hazard to occupants.
To protect the students, faculty, staff, and the visiting public from asbestos exposure, the University implemented a rigorous asbestos management program intended to ensure that any asbestos containing material is properly managed, maintained, and eventually removed.
The University’s Asbestos Management Program has strict controls on any activity that has the potential to disturb these materials. Testing is required to determine the presence of these materials prior to any such activity. If asbestos is found, strict regulations govern its removal prior to any renovation or demolition that could potentially disturb these materials.
You can download a fact sheet about asbestos HERE.
OSHA requires employees have annual asbestos awareness training if they could encounter asbestos in performance of their job – for example, custodial employees. Clemson has asbestos awareness training available online via BioRAFT HERE.
You can download and read a copy of the University’s Asbestos Management Plan HERE.