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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Asbestos scare closes Santa Fe College building

After an asbestos scare forced its closure on Friday, Santa Fe College's Health Sciences Building W reopened Tuesday after testing.

Air and dust samples collected in the building contained no asbestos according to test results received on Monday night, said SFC spokesman Larry Keen.

"Our main priority in this case is the safety and welfare of our students and faculty," he said. "We are certainly pleased with the results."

Asbestos, a fibrous mineral, is commonly used for insulation and fire proofing, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Web site. When asbestos is damaged or disturbed, the fibers may become airborne, causing diseases such as lung cancer if inhaled, according to the site.

While replacing the floor tiles in several rooms, crews became concerned that there was asbestos in the tile adhesive used during the building's construction in 1984.

The tile adhesive had blackened, a sign that it could have contained asbestos, Keen said.

The building was closed at about 1 p.m. Friday, and classes were canceled until the building reopened. The test, which cost SFC $15,000, was performed by EMSL Analytical, Inc. SFC is still in the process of replacing the tiles, according to a release.

In recent years, campus-wide asbestos tests have found no traces of asbestos, Keen said.

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