University conducts asbestos abatement at Gelman Library

The University conducted an asbestos abatement in Gelman Library's basement Tuesday and Wednesday. Hatchet File Photo

The University conducted an abatement in the basement of Gelman Library this week after discovering asbestos.

GW found the asbestos in insulation in room B02 of Gelman while surveying the building as part of office shifts for renovations to the library’s second floor, Director of the Office of Health and Safety William Flint said. The abatement took place Tuesday and Wednesday.

Exposure to asbestos – a fiber commonly used in building materials – can cause severe health problems including lung and gastrointestinal cancer if it is disturbed and then inhaled or ingested.

The District Department of Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency outline guidelines for proper asbestos abatement and construction in areas that might have been built with materials that contain asbestos.

“There will be no exposure to any member of the GW community during this abatement project,” Flint said. “Abatement projects are designed to contain all asbestos, filter all air, and clean all surfaces in and around the area of operation.”

He added that areas affected by library renovations are all being checked to ensure asbestos is not being disturbed during renovations.

DDOE environmental specialist Keith Keemer said asbestos materials are common throughout hundreds of buildings across the city and only become a problem when the fibers are disturbed.

“It’s common for asbestos to be in buildings. It’s common for abatements to be going on every day,” he said.

DDOE public information officer Donna Henry said GW was issued a permit March 27 to conduct the Gelman abatement.

Other abatement locations this academic year include Rice Hall, the Marvin Center and the Law Learning Center and Garage site, Flint said.

This post was updated on April 5, 2012 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet originally posted an unrelated photo with this blog. It was removed.

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