What is Asbestos?

Asbestos: a mineral fiber that can pollute air or water and cause cancer or asbestosis. Materials containing Asbestos fibers are called Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM).

Friable ACM: Any material containing more than one-percent asbestos, and that can be crumbled or reduced to powder by hand pressure. (May include previously non-friable material which becomes broken or damaged by mechanical force.)

Nonfriable ACM: Any material containing more than one percent asbestos (as determined by Polarized Light Microscopy) that, when dry, cannot be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure.


Does My Building Contain Asbestos?

If your building was built before 1981 it is likely to contain asbestos building materials. Contact Scott Campbell for any specific information. To contact EHS about an asbestos concern you can use the specific asbestos email address: asbestos@missouri.edu.


Health Effects of Asbestos

Asbestos is a problem because, as a toxic substance and a known carcinogen, it can cause several serious diseases in humans. Symptoms of these diseases typically develop over a period of years following asbestos exposure.

ACM in buildings do not always pose a problem to occupants and workers in those buildings. ACM can become a problem when asbestos fibers get into the air and are inhaled or there is human exposure. Intact, undisturbed ACM generally do not pose a health risk. They may become hazardous and pose increased risk when they are damaged, are disturbed in some manner, or deteriorate over time and thus release asbestos fibers into building air.


MU ACM Procedure

ACM will be removed in all major renovation/building projects impacting or in the area of asbestos-containing building materials. Encapsulation and enclosure are appropriate only for small scale Operations & Maintenance repair work. Prior to work on any suspect building material, EHS must complete bulk sampling and Polarized Light Microscopy analysis of the materials to determine ACM content.

MU faculty, staff, and students shall not remove, repair, transport, or otherwise handle friable or non-friable ACM unless currently 40-hour Asbestos Abatement Contractor/Supervisor trained. In special circumstance and with prior EHS approval, remote handling of contained ACM may be allowed under direct supervision and visual observation of a current 40-hour Asbestos Abatement Contractor/Supervisor. Ten working days DNR and/or EPA notification is required prior to beginning any friable asbestos abatement project greater than or equal to 3 linear feet or 3 square feet, except for emergency projects.

Some of the information on this page was taken from: Information on Asbestos, Obtaining Information on Asbestos, January 2001.