TRU gym declared safe after asbestos scare

Trace amounts found, but not enough to pose a risk

Kamloops Daily News
February 13, 2013 01:00 AM

Thompson Rivers University officials reopened the gym on Wednesday after averting an asbestos scare.

The substance that shut down the gym last weekend shows only "trace amounts" of asbestos, said Christopher Seguin, TRU vice president of advancement.

A raucous party in the gym on Friday dislodged two tablespoons of stuff from holes in the wall.

A demolition company immediately barricaded and cleaned up the substance before sealing the wall with silicone. An environmental company also assessed the air quality.

The university's maintenance crews further sealed the wall with concrete, said Seguin.

The entire process cost the university $2,000.

"We're taking every step to ensure the safety of all our stakeholders and that's why the extra vigilance and process was taken into account," said Seguin.

WorkSafeBC also visited and reviewed the university's actions and stated no further investigation will be required.

On Wednesday, the area was deemed safe and the gym reopened. However intramural sports won't resume until after the reading break, next week.

Testing determined the substance to be the insulation material vermiculite, which included one per cent asbestos.

It's highly unlike the level of exposure from Friday's incident would cause injury.

And according to Health Canada, the material is harmless if contained.

"There is currently no evidence of risk to your health if the insulation is sealed behind wallboards and floorboards, isolated in an attic, or otherwise kept from exposure to the interior environment," states the government website.

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