Spartanburg, South Carolina - About 200 mostly-freshman students at South Carolina’s Wofford College will be spending their first days of the new semester living at a nearby hotel after water compromised ceiling materials that contain asbestos, prompting concern about exposure to the material.
The director of news services at this Spartanburg-area college, Laura Corbin, reports that a moisture issue was discovered about a week ago and it was determined that the water had affected the asbestos-containing ceiling in the 1969-built structure. Corbin told Fox Carolina that in order to contain the asbestos, remove the moisture issue and fix the ceiling's coating, abatement has begun and should take 2 weeks to complete.
So, when it comes time for students to move into Marsh Hall, they’ll be moving into the local Marriott instead, says Corbin. The hotel is just two blocks from campus, she notes. Students assigned to Marsh Hall will be able to attend orientation and classes at the college. They just won’t be able to move into their rooms at this time.
Corbin believes that no one, including staff, has been effected by the release of asbestos fibers into the air and notes that the problem was immediately addressed once identified. She notes that the build up of moisture was a result of a combination of rain and high humidity and the fact that the building has been closed up for the past several months.
Many old college buildings contain asbestos. As a matter of fact, it’s very likely that most buildings constructed prior to the mid to late 70s probably contain materials laden with asbestos. The mineral was once used in thousands of construction products ranging from cement to tiles. Generally, it is safe it undisturbed, but once disturbed it can release fibers into the air, which can cause diseases like mesothelioma or asbestosis if inhaled.