Thomas Jefferson University


Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral fiber that occurs in rock and soil. Due to its fiber strength and heat resistance it was commonly used in building materials from around 1940 to the early 1980’s. Since many buildings on campus were built prior to 1980 an asbestos management program is required.

Common Building Materials that Contain Asbestos

  • Where asbestos may be found:
  • Attic and wall insulation produced containing vermiculite
  • Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
  • Roofing and siding shingles
  • Textured paint and patching compounds used on walls and ceilings
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
  • Hot water and steam pipes coated with asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with asbestos insulation
  • Heat-resistant fabrics
  • Automobile clutches and brakes

Health Risks

The fibers within the asbestos mineral can be harmful when inhaled. These fibers can cause damage to the lung which can lead to diseases such asbestosis (scarring of the lung tissue), lung cancer, and mesothelioma (cancer of the lung’s lining). When left intact and undisturbed, these materials do not pose a health risk to building occupants.

EHS Asbestos-Related Services

EHS offers services for identifying asbestos-containing materials, prior to construction or maintenance activities that may disturb asbestos, air sampling in areas where friable (easily crumbled by hand pressure) asbestos is known to exist, and personal and area air sampling where there is a potential for exposure.

If you have a concern about asbestos in your workplace please contact EHS at 215-503-6260.