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Asbestos

If you plan to do a renovation, please submit an Asbestos Survey Request Form


Asbestos Survey Request Form

Background

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 defined as containing more than 1% of asbestos in its composition.

Over three thousand products have been manufactured as asbestos-containing materials, so presume all building materials contain asbestos unless an asbestos survey report says otherwise. Common locations on campus where asbestos may be found include:

  • Spray-applied fireproofing
  • Pipe, tank & boiler insulation (with all fittings included)
  • Air duct seam tape & vibration cloth
  • Air & furnace duct insulation
  • Gaskets
  • Cement pipe, conduit & duct
  • Corrugated & flat cement siding
  • Roofing tar, felt, mastic & shingles
  • Plaster & sheetrock joint compound
  • Acoustic ceiling or wall tile & adhesives
  • Floor tile, sheet vinyl, linoleum & adhesives
  • Cove base & ceramic tile adhesives
  • Lab countertops, equipment insulation & fume hood liners
  • Fire door & wire insulation
  • Caulking & glazing compounds
  • Panels in cooling tower

Asbestos in good condition is not an issue, but we should always avoid disturbing potential asbestos containing materials. Asbestos can still be added to products today, so vintage is not a parameter for whether a building material contains asbestos or not – only an asbestos survey report can determine whether a material contains asbestos. If there is an asbestos warning sign at the entrance to a work area, do not enter under any circumstances.

Protective Measures

  • Presume all building materials contain asbestos unless an asbestos survey report says otherwise
  • Do not remove, cut, drill, sand, grind or otherwise disturb any building materials without reviewing an asbestos survey report to determine if the material is not ACM
  • Do not install screws, pins, nails, hangers or do damage to ceilings or walls without reviewing an asbestos survey report to determine if the material is not ACM
  • Immediately report any observed damage or deterioration of suspect building materials

Emergency Response Measures

  • Exit the area; do NOT try to clean the material up.
  • Call EHS Asbestos Management Program Personnel or Operations if after hours (4:00 PM – 7:00 AM) at 617-253-1500.
  • If possible, close off the space and post a warning “Do Not Enter”.

If you have any questions regarding asbestos at the Institute, please call the EHS Asbestos Management Program Personnel:

  • McAnneny, Brian – (617) 253-0165
  • Ettridge, Brendan – (781) 264-1614
  • Wah, Matthew – (617) 253-1665

Background

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 defined as containing more than 1% of asbestos in its composition.

Over three thousand products have been manufactured as asbestos-containing materials, so presume all building materials contain asbestos unless an asbestos survey report says otherwise. Common locations on campus where asbestos may be found include:

  • Spray-applied fireproofing
  • Pipe, tank & boiler insulation (with all fittings included)
  • Air duct seam tape & vibration cloth
  • Air & furnace duct insulation
  • Gaskets
  • Cement pipe, conduit & duct
  • Corrugated & flat cement siding
  • Roofing tar, felt, mastic & shingles
  • Plaster & sheetrock joint compound
  • Acoustic ceiling or wall tile & adhesives
  • Floor tile, sheet vinyl, linoleum & adhesives
  • Cove base & ceramic tile adhesives
  • Lab countertops, equipment insulation & fume hood liners
  • Fire door & wire insulation
  • Caulking & glazing compounds
  • Panels in cooling tower

Asbestos in good condition is not an issue, but we should always avoid disturbing potential asbestos containing materials. Asbestos can still be added to products today, so vintage is not a parameter for whether a building material contains asbestos or not – only an asbestos survey report can determine whether a material contains asbestos. If there is an asbestos warning sign at the entrance to a work area, do not enter under any circumstances.

Protective Measures

  • Presume all building materials contain asbestos unless an asbestos survey report says otherwise
  • Do not remove, cut, drill, sand, grind or otherwise disturb any building materials without reviewing an asbestos survey report to determine if the material is not ACM
  • Do not install screws, pins, nails, hangers or do damage to ceilings or walls without reviewing an asbestos survey report to determine if the material is not ACM
  • Immediately report any observed damage or deterioration of suspect building materials

Emergency Response Measures

  • Exit the area; do NOT try to clean the material up.
  • Call EHS Asbestos Management Program Personnel or Operations if after hours (4:00 PM – 7:00 AM) at 617-253-1500.
  • If possible, close off the space and post a warning “Do Not Enter”.

If you have any questions regarding asbestos at the Institute, please call the EHS Asbestos Management Program Personnel:

  • McAnneny, Brian – (617) 253-0165
  • Ettridge, Brendan – (781) 264-1614
  • Wah, Matthew – (617) 253-1665