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Western Washington University Building Evacuated for Possible Asbestos Contamination

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The Humanities Building at Western Washington University was evacuated Monday when and error in renovation work may have released harmful asbestos fibers into the air of the building.

Gayle Shipley, of the University’s Environmental Health and Safety department, told the Bellingham Herald that a contractor doing renovation work failed to properly seal and bag a piece asbestos laden ceiling material before removing it from the building, potentially allowing the toxic asbestos fibers to be released into the rest of the building.

Exposure to asbestos can lead to the development of a rare and extremely dangerous form of cancer known as Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma cancer affects the thin layer of tissue that surrounds the internal organs of the body and has no universally effective treatment to date.

No injuries have been reported in association with the incident and clean-up contractors are assessing the situation.