Asbestos In Depth

Asbestos is the name given to numerous naturally-occurring fibrous minerals that were used in the development of numerous building materials. The term “asbestos-containing material (ACM)” is given to any material that contains more than 1 percent asbestos fibers.

Although it is still used in a limited number of products, ACM are generally no longer used for new building construction. This is primarily due to the fact that asbestos fibers have been associated with certain specific adverse health effects.

ACM poses a potential health risk only when the material containing the asbestos fibers is damaged or handled in a way that allows the fibers to become airborne. Therefore, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Managing Asbestos in Place (PDF) recommends procedures that are specifically designed to ensure that damage to ACM is quickly identified and repaired. Under these guidelines, ACM is only removed when it may be disturbed by activities such as construction, or when the material is damaged beyond repair.

The Boston University and Boston Medical Center Asbestos Management Plan is designed to comply with these recommendations through a combination of training, multi-office cooperation and construction planning. When necessary, removal and repair is conducted by State-licensed asbestos abatement contractors and monitored by State-licensed Asbestos Project Monitors.

If you have any questions regarding whether a material is ACM, please contact EHS immediately. We also encourage you to notify us immediately if you notice any damaged material that you may suspect to contain asbestos.

Smoking Cessation

There is a synergistic relationship between asbestos exposure and cigarette smoke. While Boston University strives to prevent asbestos exposure by following recommended management practices, it is important to remember that the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease is significantly higher among smokers.

The following information is provided as a service to those persons in the Boston University community who wish to quit smoking, or who may wish to find more information on smoking and its effect on the body. Even if you have not made up your mind, you may still want to browse the following web sites.

General Information on the Health Effects of Smoking and General Smoking Cessation Information

EHS has developed a comprehensive Asbestos Management Plan to properly manage all asbestos containing or potential asbestos containing materials on our campuses.