Asbestos Basics

 

If you have any questions regarding asbestos at the Institute, or you plan to do a renovation, please call the Industrial Hygiene Program (IHP) in the Environment, Health and Safety Office at (617) 452-3477.  Someone from the asbestos program will help you.

 

Asbestos in good condition is not an issue, but we should avoid disturbing possible asbestos containing materials when possible.

 

 

Basics

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber extensively used in building materials from the 1930's until the 1970's. It is resistant to heat, mechanical stress, and water. Asbestos fibers are only a hazard when they become airborne and are inhalable. Urban air, such as in Cambridge, may have asbestos fiber levels somewhere around 0.001 f/cm3. The OSHA permissible exposure limit is 0.1 f/cm3. Asbestos containing materials are defiend as containing more than 1% of asbestos in its composition.

 

 

If a building component contains asbestos and presents a hazard, the Department of Facilities will be contacted and the hazard will be repaired or abated. If the material in question is a laboratory item, IHP will provide you with the information you need to have the item properly disposed.

 

Common locations where asbestos may be found include pipe insulation (with all fittings included), floor tiles, ceiling tiles, gasket materials, fire door fill, panels in cooling towers, and boiler insulation. There may even be asbestos clothing, such as asbestos gloves!  Over three thousand products have been manufactured as asbestos containing materials.  Asbestos in good condition is not an issue.

 

Avoid disturbing possible asbestos containing materials. All asbestos abatement at MIT is performed by outside vendors. These vendors are licensed asbestos abatement contractors. Asbestos signs and work areas are indications of ongoing abatement activities. There is an asbestos warning sign at the entrance to the abatement work area. Do not enter abatement areas when signs are posted. Every abatement activity at MIT is monitored by IHP or an outside environmental consultant who contracts with the Industrial Hygiene Program.

 

If you have any questions regarding asbestos OR PLAN TO DO A RENOVATION OR DEMOLITION  at the Institute, call the Industrial Hygiene Program (IHP) in the Environment, Health and Safety Office at (617) 452-3477. Someone from the asbestos program will help you.