Asbestos found in several campus buildings

Laura Davis

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The CSUN environmental health & safety department disseminated a report in January that lists 18 buildings on campus with remnants of asbestos-containing materials.

The California Health and Safety Code requires the university to put out an annual notification to alert people of exactly where the asbestos is located in the buildings.

“As long as the asbestos is not disturbed, it is not a health hazard,” said Antonio Pepe, assistant director of environmental health and safety. “This notification is to give folks an idea of where these materials are so they don’t disturb them.”

Faculty and students are advised to avoid drilling holes, or hanging objects from walls or ceilings where asbestos has been found, according to the report.

Over the past 15 years, asbestos has been taken out by building renovation projects, according to an email from the environmental health & safety department.

“A large majority of the asbestos was removed in these buildings as a result of the 1994 earthquake,” said Lynn Wiegers, interim executive director of physical plant management.

The asbestos remnants were discovered through detailed building inspections, material sampling and laboratory analysis that met the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health and Environmental Protection Agency standards, according to the annual report.

Specific contaminated building parts include: floor and ceiling tiles, thermal pipe insulation, weather stripping, putty, and both hot and cold water pipes. Not every building contains asbestos in all of the listed areas.

According to the report, asbestos-containing materials pose no health threats unless its fibers become airborne due to deterioration, or as a result of damage.

“I didn’t believe it was really that harmful to be around. I thought everyone was over-exaggerating,” said Frank LeClair, a contractor who suffers from lung problems possibly related to asbestos exposure.

To see which areas of specific buildings are contaminated, a notification is an available resource online.

As of now, CSUN has no plans to completely remove all of the asbestos.

“It’s not a hazard as it is where it’s located. As we go through various projects and we work in various areas we take the opportunity to remove it as part of those projects,” Pepe said

 


View Buildings on campus affected with Asbestos in a larger map; Map by Christopher Ho / Online Editor