Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral found in certain types of rock formations. Asbestos is not a man-made fiber. Asbestos has been used in building materials such as pipe insulation, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, tile mastic, and heating protection. When asbestos is crushed, it does not make an ordinary dust, like other rocks, asbestos breaks into tiny, sharp fibers that are too small too see. Asbestos is dangerous to breathe in because the fibers can easily get into your lungs. Asbestos can make you sick long after exposure.
There are six kinds of asbestos fibers. There are three kinds which are most common: chysotile, amosite and crocidolite. Chrysotile asbestos is 95% of the asbestos found in building materials. All asbestos must be wet before it can be handled; wetting the material helps to keep the fibers out of the air, and therefore out of human lungs.
Asbestos is the most dangerous when it can crumble in your hands - this is called friable asbestos. An example of friable asbestos is sprayed-on ceiling insulation. The insulation can be released into the air without anyone even touching it. An example of non-friable asbestos is vinyl-asbestos floor tile (VAT). If left untouched and undamaged, these tiles hold up without any danger to the air.
Asbestos is regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP), and the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). Each agency has accepted a significant role in developing and enforcing regulations which apply to asbestos regulations.
Framingham State University has asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in some of its buildings - mostly floor tiles and pipe insulation in mechanical spaces.
Whenever a project is undertaken, a licensed certified asbestos abatement contractor is hired by the University. The exposure to employees and the public is minimal on University property.