Asbestos

Asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are present in many of the buildings throughout Simon Fraser University. These materials do not pose a health hazard unless the asbestos becomes airborne through construction activities or deteriorated materials.

About

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was added to building materials to give them strength, provide fire protection and chemical resistance. Asbestos has been used widely in commercial buildings, schools, homes and machinery in British Columbia, including on SFU campuses.

Health risks

A material is only a health risk when asbestos fibres become airborne. Asbestos materials that can be easily crumbled by hand pressure have the greatest risk of releasing asbestos fibres and are known as “friable”.

The University's Asbestos Exposure Control Plan was developed to ensure proper procedures for handling asbestos-containing materials are in place and that building occupants are not exposed to airborne asbestos fibres. SFU has put measures in place to ensure that possible asbestos-related exposures are eliminated or are as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).  

Read more about the health risks of asbestos provided by the Government of Canada.

Asbestos at SFU

Asbestos is removed whenever possible during building renovations or through routine building maintenance projects. Undisturbed, the presence of asbestos is not a hazard to the campus community and the cost to remove it from all buildings would be prohibitive.

As a university community member:

  • Be aware that there is asbestos present on campus and it may be found in the buildings you occupy
  • Understand that if asbestos is in-tact and in good condition that it does not pose a health concern
  • Refrain from damaging flooring, walls, ceilings and piping systems as they could potentially contain asbestos
  • Do not rip or uninstall items off of walls or ceilings
  • If you discover construction debris in your work area, do not clean it up. Instead, leave the area and restrict access to the area if possible
  • Inform your supervisor and EHS if you notice damaged building materials such as floor tiles, walls, ceilings or pipe insulation