Founded in 1954 as Anchorage Community College, the Anchorage campus of the University of Alaska is the main campus of Alaska’s state university system. Originally housed at Anchorage West High School, the community college moved to a newly-constructed campus at the university’s present location in 1969. The campus would continue to expand throughout the 1970s.
In the mid to late twentieth century when the University of Alaska’s Anchorage campus was built, asbestos was commonly used in many types of building materials. Known for its fire-retardant properties and superior insulating ability, asbestos was a popular and affordable material in a wide variety of applications. By the mid 1970s, asbestos use had ballooned to more than 1400 million pounds per year. Most 20th century institutional buildings constructed prior to 1979 contained asbestos in one form or another, and the University of Alaska’s Anchorage campus was no exception.
University of Alaska Anchorage Asbestos Concerns
Since the mid 1980s, the university has made extensive efforts to catalogue and address asbestos hazards. A recent survey of campus buildings found that asbestos containing materials remain in place at eight locations. University officials caution workers to exercise care when working in these buildings, and not break containment membranes surrounding the materials. The latest survey found asbestos in the following materials:
- White Fireproofing Spray
- 9”x9” Floor Tiles and Mastic
- Pipe Insulation and Fittings
- Pipe Chases
- White Joint Compounds
- Brown Cove Mastic
Asbestos in Pipe Insulation Especially Worrisome
Crumbling pipe insulation is considered to be one of the most dangerous types of asbestos exposure, due to its friable nature. Friable asbestos materials crumble easily when damaged or disturbed, releasing tiny fibers which may be inhaled. Employees who have come into contact with uncovered or damaged asbestos pipe insulation at the University of Alaska, as well as those who initially installed the insulation, may have been exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers.
Although some of the dangers associated with asbestos exposure were understood in the early decades of the twentieth century, asbestos remained a common building material until the late 1970s. While today workers who deal with asbestos use extensive safety equipment and carry special certifications, these protections were not in place for workers during the mid twentieth century construction boom. If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos while working at the University of Alaska or another job site, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Bergman Draper Oslund today, for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.