Asbestos Found At Los Medanos College

Illustration of potential asbestos exposure in a building

Asbestos has been found at Los Medanos College (LMC) in Pittsburg, California. More specifically, a Terracon Company called RGA Environmental, conducted tests on campus that resulted as positive for asbestos in many buildings constructed before 1980, including LMC’s College Complex and Gymnasium. The roofing and pea gravel covering the roofs were the pinpointed areas of contamination.

“According to the California Health and Safety Code, once we confirm a building has hazardous materials, we must communicate with all employees working within the building of this finding,” said Chief Facilities Planner Ray Pyle.

If left untouched, asbestos is typically not a threat. But if disturbed, asbestos particles could be released into the air and the fibers could be inhaled into one’s lungs. When they become lodged, this can lead to mesothelioma cancer.

“If our project plans to disturb any of these materials, qualified abatement firms and abatement inspectors will be hired to comply with all laws and regulation regarding working with, and monitoring work on, hazardous materials,” said Pyle.

The college complex will be re-roofed beginning with the top section over the music department, theater, and core buildings on November 30. The gymnasium will have renovations to conclude on January 29, 2016. The total costs will equate to anywhere between $700,000 and $1 million dollars with money coming from allocated maintenance funds.

“We’re hoping to get that part [college complex re-roofing] done before the rain starts up. The gymnasium renovations won’t be starting until the summer,” said LMC’s Buildings and Grounds Manager Russ Holt.

“Please note that moving, drilling, sanding, or otherwise disturbing the asbestos-containing construction materials identified may present a health risk and consequently, should not be attempted by an unqualified employee,” said Pyle in an email. “If the materials appear to be deteriorating, please contact your Buildings and Grounds Manager immediately.”

As a naturally occurring mineral with useful commercial application, asbestos is found in plumbing, insulation, and other building materials and products, yet scientists have determined that even a small amount of asbestos exposure could be deadly.

A 20-50 year latency period often exists between exposure and diagnosis. People exposed to asbestos are seven times more likely to develop lung cancer over the general public.

“No one has gotten sick. We just want everyone to know that we are taking the necessary procedures,” said Holt. “Anytime we are going to do any type of construction, we call a company like this and we have the tests done.”