Asbestos Awareness Information

Question: What is asbestos?
Answer: Asbestos is a fibrous material used in a variety of building materials and industrial products.


Question: Where might I encounter asbestos-containing materials while working at Purdue?
Answer: Asbestos is found in a number of building materials, including: sprayed-on insulation, troweled-on insulation, acoustical plaster, pipe insulation, boiler insulation, duct insulation, floor tile, transit cement board, vinyl flooring, wire insulation, and ceiling tiles. It is also used as thermal insulation in some devices and in friction products such as brake shoes.


Question: Why should I be concerned about asbestos?
Answer: Overexposure to asbestos has been shown to cause a type of lung disease called asbestosis and cancers of the lung and peritoneum. The disease states associated with exposure to asbestos were caused by high, long-term exposure and much less often from very, short-term exposure.


Question: Will having asbestos-containing materials in my work area hurt me?
Answer: No. Asbestos must be airborne and inhaled in order to be harmful, and asbestos-containing materials must be disturbed to become airborne.


Question: What should I do if I have to work with or on a material that I suspect may contain asbestos?
Answer: Contact your foreman or supervisor. He/she will contact Radiological and Environmental Management and request that a sample of the material by analyzed for asbestos.


Question: What should I do if my intended work operation is going to disturb asbestos-containing material?
Answer: Contact your foreman or supervisor. He/she will then contact Environmental Control and Abatement Department and the Asbestos Coordinator. They will then have the asbestos-containing materials removed in a safe manner using properly trained and protected personnel.


Question: What types of work practices might cause me to be overexposed to asbestos?
Answer: Sweeping asbestos-containing debris, improperly removing asbestos-containing materials, sawing, drilling, sanding, or otherwise disturbing asbestos-containing materials.


Question: Who can I call regarding questions about asbestos?
Answer: Radiological and Environmental Management at 49-61937 or 49-41019.