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Do you have Asbestos?

By Carlson Environmental | Share

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that occurs in rock and soil. Because of its fiber strength, chemical and heat resistance, asbestos has been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, most commonly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), insulation, fire retardants, heat-resistant fabrics, packing, gaskets, and coatings.

In 1971, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified asbestos as a hazardous pollutant, and in 1973, the EPA promulgated the Asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). The Asbestos NESHAP has subsequently been amended several times, most comprehensively in November 1990.

Did you know that you need an asbestos survey prior to renovation/demolition activities in any commercial/industrial structure in every state no matter the age of installation?

Based on the Asbestos NESHAP Regulations, a thorough inspection where the demolition or renovation activities will occur is mandatory no matter when the building was constructed or when the building materials were installed.

Just because it was banned doesn’t mean you can’t potentially install a material containing asbestos, even today.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banned the manufacture, importation, processing and distribution in commerce of certain asbestos-containing products. However, that does not mean that products imported from outside the United States do not contain asbestos. Cases of floor tiles can be purchased today at many of the “big-box” retail home improvement stores that have labels indicating that the product “may contain asbestos”. Even though the EPA started instituting a series of bans on asbestos containing products in 1973, new construction still has the potential to contain asbestos materials.

What do you do if you have asbestos?

If building materials are determined to contain more than one percent asbestos, they are considered asbestos-containing materials (ACM). The Asbestos NESHAP regulations require the owner or the operator of the renovation or demolition operation to notify the appropriate delegated entity (often a state agency) before any demolition or any renovations can occur in buildings containing ACM. The rule also requires work practice standards that control asbestos emissions.

In Summary

Based on the regulations, all buildings need to be tested prior to initiating renovation or demolition activities. It is important to remember that just because there has been an asbestos ban for approximately 40 years, it does not mean that building materials being installed today do not contain asbestos; building products containing ACM can still find their way into the US. It is important to hire a licensed asbestos building inspector to inspect your building. If ACM is found, a licensed abatement contractor is needed to properly remove the asbestos. Asbestos exposure is potentially a significant health and safety concern; consequently, regulatory agencies have levied fines against building owners for failure to perform the necessary inspections prior to renovation/demolition activities. Carlson Environmental would be pleased to assist you with your asbestos needs. Please feel free to contact us at 312-346-2140, or email us at for more information!

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