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Asbestos-containing material is defined as any material that contains greater than one-percent asbestos. Asbestos was incorporated into a number of widely used products, many of which were used in building construction beginning in the late 1800's. By the mid-1980's most products containing asbestos were removed from the market. The most common uses of asbestos in GW buildings were in floor tiles and mastic glue, thermal insulation, acoustical decorative plaster, ceiling tiles, structural steel fireproofing and drywall joint compound.

On GW campuses, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the District of Columbia regulate the asbestos removal process. According to the OSHA Asbestos Standard (29 CFR 1926.1101), building material installed prior to 1980 must be presumed to contain asbestos unless historical information and testing indicates otherwise.

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