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Small amounts of asbestos found in pipe coverings during a "routine maintenance project" in a Quadrangle bathroom were removed during spring break, Residential Maintenance Director Lynn Horner said yesterday. Horner said the University ordered the asbestos removal after workers repairing a leaking water line in Butcher basement discovered the potentially hazardous material in pipe coverings located behind the wall. Laura Peller, the assistant director of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, said the asbestos posed no health risks since students did not come into contact with the material prior to its removal. Over the break, "certified asbestos contractors" performed the removal, and "certified asbestos project inspectors" then insured that the bathroom had been thoroughly cleaned, Peller said. "The bottom line is the air quality was tested and determined to be safe," she said. She said it was necessary to remove the asbestos because of the possibility it might be dislodged during the repair work and inhaled by students. Past studies suggest breathing asbestos particles may lead to cancer. According to Peller, asbestos is safe as long as it is kept away from people and left undisturbed. It is therefore often used as an insulator in places which are "hidden from people." In 1986, the University completed a three-year, $3.9 million project in eight residence halls, including the high rises, to replace ceiling panels containing asbestos. Since then, Residential Living has operated "an ongoing management project for handling any areas that would have asbestos," Horner said. She said the University removes asbestos from residences five or six times a year, mainly during repair work in mechanical spaces around storage tanks and generators.

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