Thomas Jefferson University


The Department of Environmental Health and Safety provide support to Physical Resources and other Jefferson departments in the management of asbestos projects.

The purpose of the asbestos management program is:

  • Informing employees and students about the presence of asbestos in our University.
  • Identifying the potential hazards associated with asbestos.
  • Preventing damage to material containing asbestos.
  • Preventing occupational asbestos exposure and environmental asbestos exposure to employees, students, and visitors.

What is Abestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral used in an array of products because of its resistance to most chemicals, thermal insulation, and tensile strength.  Some examples of manufactured goods containing asbestos are floor tiles, roofing materials, paper products, automobile breaks and clutches, pipe insulation, coatings, and packaging.  The three most common types of asbestos are: (1) Chrysotile (also known as the white asbestos), (2) Amosite (also known as the brown/off white asbestos), and (3) Chrysotile (also known as the blue asbestos).

Where is Abestos Found?

Asbestos can be found in many products and different places because of its fiber strength and heat resistant properties.  Most of these products are used in a variety of building construction materials.  Some of the products that are presumed to contain asbestos are:

  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Wall insulation
  • Roof coatings and shingles
  • Pipes
  • Coatings
  • Automatic transmission components
  • Clutch facings
  • Disc brake pads
  • Brake blocks
  • Commercial and industrial asbestos friction products
  • Commercial, corrugated and specialty paper
  • Asbestos clothing

Abestos Health Effects

Asbestos is made up of microscopic bundles of fibers that may become airborne when distributed.  When these fibers are inhaled into the lungs, potential health problems may occur.  If you believe that you have been exposed to asbestos, consult a physician immediately.

Some of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure include:

Asbestosis: is a long-term non-cancer disease to the lungs caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.  Once fibers are trapped in the lung tissues, they begin to scar the tissues.  Eventually, this scarring which prevents oxygen from entering into the blood causes the lungs not to function.  There is no effective treatment for asbestosis.

Lung Cancer:  is mostly caused by asbestos.  People who work in the manufacturing of asbestos and those who use asbestos products have a greater chance of developing lung cancer.  Cigarette smoking also increases the effects of lung cancer.

Mesothelioma:  is a rare and peculiar form of cancer that is found I the pleura (the outer lining (membrane) of the lung and chest) and the peritoneum (the outer lining (membrane) of the abdominal wall). Mesothelioma’s only known cause is exposure to asbestos and it can show up 15-30 years after exposure.

Thomas Jefferson Asbestos Program is designed to prevent employee asbestos exposure, to prevent damage to materials containing asbestos, and to handle and remove asbestos products in a safe manner.

The following policies provide additional information on asbestos. Please contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at (215) 503-6260 to obtain a copy.

EH&S policy 500-A1
Identification and Removal
EH&S policy 500-A3
Decision Making Factors
EH&S policy 500-A4 Project Specifications

OSHA Abestos Links