DENTON — Students on their way to class at the Language Building at the University of North Texas in Denton were puzzled by the asbestos warning signs posted next to the entrance on Fry Street.
“I'm surprised that no one said anything and the whole construction thing is happening,” said student Melanie Villatoro. “I don't know if it's just in this part of the building. It's kind of worrisome.”
Other students had similar concerns... and questions. One of them e-mailed News 8 with video from inside the building. It showed students talking and studying near the project area.
Jessica Hahn noticed a strange smell coming from the room. "I didn't think anything of it, but when I walked pass that, it kind of freaked me slightly, only because it was immediately in my face,” Hahn said.
Products containing asbestos, when disturbed, can release tiny fibers into the air. Inhaling them can cause serious lung problems, including cancer.
According to UNT, workers are remodeling an office in the building.
“It's tile flooring that has asbestos in it, which is very common in the late 70s," said UNT spokesman Buddy Price. "It is being removed by an EPA-permitted company, so it is very, very safe.”
Price understands the concerns the signs caused, but he said workers are taking precautions. They sealed the office with a protective cover, and an independent firm is continually testing the air quality.
“Our first concern is the safety and welfare of our students, our faculty and staff,” Price said. “If there was any danger at all, we would not be doing that work.”
The project started on Monday. The work is expected to be finished on Wednesday.