The word asbestos is derived from a Greek word that means inextinguishable or indestructible. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is found throughout the United States and world. Major deposits; however, are found primarily in the U.S., Canada, Russia, and South Africa. Asbestos has several characteristics that make it desirable for many commercial uses. The fibers are extremely strong, flexible, and very resistant to heat, chemicals, and corrosion. Asbestos is also an excellent insulator, and the fibers can be spun, woven, bonded into other materials, or pressed to form paper products. For these reasons and because it is relatively inexpensive, asbestos has been widely used for many years and now is found in over three thousand (3,000) different commercial products.
Although exposure to asbestos is potentially hazardous, health risks can be minimized by understanding and taking simple but effective precautions. In most cases the fibers are released only if the asbestos containing materials (ACM) is disturbed. Intact and undisturbed asbestos materials do not pose a health risk and should be left alone by un-trained employees. The mere presence of asbestos does not mean that the health of occupants is endangered. Health effects and other useful information is outlined in the BSU Asbestos Awareness Program (pdf).
The ability for employees to recognize the kinds of materials that contain
asbestos is very important to minimizing exposure incidents. Additionally,
knowing under what conditions they are dangerous, and understanding basic
safety precautions are all important in keeping exposures to a minimum.
For questions or concerns about asbestos around the BSU campus please
contact the EHS Office at 765-285-2832.
Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Asbestos Homepage
Copyright © 2013 Ball State University 2000 W. University Ave. Muncie, IN 47306
800-382-8540 and 765-289-1241