Asbestos removal from the Clark Building has upset several employees who worked in the area in the weeks before school started.
CSU has spent the last few weeks removing ceiling tile and sucking out asbestos from the building.
“My health is at issue,” said Linda Stapel, a research associate at CSU who works in the C-wing of Clark where the removal took place. “Every time I come here I have a sore throat.”
Officials from the university’s Environmental Health Services said that the work in Clark was planned in advance, routine and nothing to worry about.
“There’s virtually no safety risk at all,” said Eric March, asbestos and lead coordinator at EHS.
Asbestos is the name given to several naturally occurring minerals that have been mined for several uses, including thermal insulation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The asbestos level was low – about 2 percent, March said.
Anything above 1 percent is considered asbestos-containing material by the EPA. The group has yet to determine a “safe level” of exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos isn’t a problem unless it’s disturbed.
He added that all standards are being adhered to, and that EHS has hired state and federally certified officials to monitor the ongoing work, including air-monitoring specialists.
“The campus strictly adheres to all regulations and protocols to ensure the health of the student body, personnel and public,” March said.
Several factors could contribute to the sore throat – allergies, hot temperatures, the dry geographical region, March said, but not asbestos.
“It’s physically impossible for asbestos removal to contribute to a sore throat,” he said.
Still, at the least, personnel were inconvenienced at work and the air conditioning had to be shut down.
Brian Chase, director of the Facilities Management, said he hoped the work would have been completed earlier, but there were roadblocks the department ran into, including having to dismiss a firm for “not doing things properly.” He cited “quality issues” for the dismissal.
“We never felt there was a health danger, but if you’re not going to do it by the rules, we’re going to dismiss you,” he said. “It did set us back a couple weeks.”
More asbestos removal is scheduled throughout the fall and into winter.