Asbestos was found on the basement level of the University of Connecticut’s Homer D. Babbidge Library, blocking off a section of the second floor as students returned from Spring Break.
A naturally occurring mineral, asbestos was once utilized often and commended highly due to several factors. The mineral’s fiber strength and heat resistance made it useful in building materials, such as floor tiles, according to the Mesothelioma Center.
The carpets on Level B were removed by the UConn Facilities Operations department due to flooding last winter. They found that the adhesive holding the carpet to the old vinyl tiles contained asbestos, University Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.
According to the Division of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), the exposure to asbestos has been found to have negative health effects. However, the asbestos found in the library does not seem to be a hazard for students and staff.
“The asbestos didn’t pose a threat to the library’s users or employees because its location – in the adhesive under the tiles, which were then under the carpet – meant there was no pathway to human exposure,” Reitz said.
The affected area was contained and contractors followed the asbestos management plan outlined on the EH&S’s website. The procedure included removing the asbestos, monitoring the air and blocking off the area, Reitz said.
The area remains closed and will reopen once testing proves that the air is clear of asbestos fibers, Reitz said.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, floor tiles are presumed to contain asbestos if installed before 1981.
All floor tiles are presumed to contain asbestos if tests have not been run. UConn has run extensive tests on floor tiles, according to the EH&S.
The area is expected to be re-carpeted on Wednesday, UConn Library Head of Communications and Engagement Jean Nelson said.
Emma DeGrandi is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.