Cannon asbestos testing to begin soon

Cannon Air Force Base

A recent change to Air Force Instruction 32-6001, “Family Housing Management” calls for educating the base populace on the potential risks associated with lead-based paint, mold, radon and asbestos in military family housing (MFH). The possible presence of these environmental hazards was disclosed in writing to each MFH occupant last month, along with a federally-approved information pamphlet and an opportunity to learn more at an “information fair.”

As part of the AFI requirements, the Bioenvironmental Engineering Office will perform air sampling for asbestos fibers in a representative number of MFH units in the Chavez Manor and Gemini housing areas during May 2007. While the schedule has not been finalized, the goal is to have all sampling completed and all sampling results reported by the end of June 2007. The following questions were answered by the Bioenvironmental Engineering Office.

Q: Why are homes being sampled for asbestos?
A: Due to a recent change in Air Force Instruction 32-6001, “Family Housing Management”, Cannon is required to send information about all potential environmental hazards within Cannon AFB Housing to all Military Family Housing occupants. As part of this requirement, the Bioenvironmental Engineering office will be performing air sampling for asbestos fibers in homes in the Chavez Manor and Gemini housing areas to perform a Health Risk Assessment. This sampling is being conducted to determine if there is any potential hazard to occupants from the asbestos containing building materials found in these homes. At the present time, there is no reason to believe that these materials pose a potential risk to occupants, and all occupants have received instruction on how to minimize the possibility of exposure to asbestos. The sampling is being conducted as a precautionary measure to ensure complete compliance with AFI 32-6001.

Q: Why are the other housing areas not being sampled?
A: Chavez West housing area was built in 1994, well after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began regulating the use of ACBMs. Therefore it is less likely that potentially harmful ACBMs were used in the construction of these homes. The Mercury housing area was built in 1956; however, all of the homes in this area were completely gutted and renovated starting in 1990 going through 1997. Even though a majority of the asbestos was removed during renovations, we still encourage occupants to follow the asbestos guidance in the disclosure letter.
It is likely that limited ACBMs were used in the construction and renovation of these homes. Samples of the building materials used in both housing areas are currently being tested for asbestos to ensure there is no additional risk.

Q: Will all of the homes in Chavez Manor and Gemini housing areas be tested?
A: No, not all homes in these two housing areas will be tested. A certain percentage of the homes in each area will be tested. This percentage is based on how many homes are in each housing area, and the year that they were built. These homes will be selected on a random basis. In addition, both occupied and non-occupied homes will be tested, and will be representative of Chavez Manor and Gemini housing units.

Q: Who does the sampling?
A: While the Bioenvironmental Engineering Office will be ultimately responsible for all of the sampling, the day to day sampling activities will be conducted by employees of MACTEC Federal Programs, Inc.. All MACTEC employees working on this effort will have ID cards identifying them as MACTEC employees and will be escorted into the houses by uniformed military personnel.

Q: If my home is selected for sampling how will it affect me?
A: Occupants of the homes being tested will not have any restrictions on their day to day activities. Occupants do not need to be at home during the sampling. Although they will need to let the sampling teams, and their uniformed military escorts, set up their sampling equipment and retrieve their equipment at the end of the sampling period.
The occupants will be contacted by the Bioenvironmental Engineering Office at least three days prior to the sampling being conducted to discuss sampling times and answer any questions about the sampling.

Q: Who can I contact if I have questions about the asbestos sampling?
A: If you have questions about the asbestos sampling, please feel free to contact one of the following 27 Medical Group personnel and we will be happy to answer your questions.
2Lt James Kurzdorfer, Deputy Biomedical Scientist at (505) 784-4063 or, Lt Col (Dr) J.D. Bailey II, Chief of the Medical Staff at (505) 784-7605.