Portions of Pasco High School will have restricted access beginning today as workers replace the roof.
The school's current roof contains asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral once used extensively in building materials but phased out because of carcinogenic qualities.
The roof contains non-friable asbestos, which isn't as easily distributed or broken up as friable asbestos, reducing the risk of exposure, but workers will be wearing white suits and ventilators. The material will have to be made wet before removal and disposed of in a regulated landfill.
"It can be a little unnerving to see people in white suits and respirators at a work site, and the natural response by most is to assume that some disaster has occurred," said Kim Marsh, capital projects director for the district. "In reality, (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations require that people working with asbestos wear respiratory and protective equipment."