Asbestos is a naturally occurring
mineral fiber. The amphibole asbestos, amosite, crocidolite, actinolite, anthophyllite,
and tremolite, are long, straight, and narrow shape fibers. The chrysotile fibers
are wavy and is classified as serpentine. Building materials contained any of the
types of asbestos can be classified as friable or non-friable.
Friable: Asbestos containing materials can be crumbled or reduced to harmful
dust by hand pressure. Examples: insulation and fire proofing.
Non-Friable: Asbestos containing materials generally require a very significant
amount of pressure before the harmful dust can be generated. Examples: cement pipe
and floor tiles.
Is asbestos harmful?
It certainly can be. Asbestos is a known carcinogen.
Long term studies link asbestos to mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. However
with appropriate precautions and safety measures, individuals can prevent serious
health repercussions. The University takes a very conservative approach to work
involving asbestos-containing materials in order to protect employees, students,
and the public.