Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral with thin fibrous crystals. The inhalation of asbestos fibers can be extremely dangerous and is known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer primarily associated with asbestos exposure), and asbestosis. Asbestos-containing materials can be found in a wide variety of building materials including, but not limited to: linoleum, vinyl floor tile, insulation, joint compound (aka mudding), sheetrock, wall texture, sprayed-on fire proofing and acoustical applications, such as ‘pop-corn’ ceiling applications. Many people are unaware that asbestos-containing products are still manufactured today and imported into the United States, so many go without asbestos testing. The significant health effects associated with asbestos exposure prompted the adoption of many regulations governing worker protection requirements, inspection requirements, etc.
Asbestos inspections are required under two separate EPA regulations:
1. The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). NESHAP regulations require building owners and contractors to conduct asbestos surveys prior to demolition or renovation activities. local, State, or Federal governments typically notify building owners of the NESHAP requirements when building permits are obtained; although, it is ultimately up to building owners and contractors to ensure adherence to the regulations. In order to limit a building owner’s liability, many times the building owners will have a qualified consultant perform air clearance sampling and air testing to ensure the asbestos-containing materials were removed correctly, and no residual asbestos contamination remains.
2. The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)The AHERA regulation requires all public and non-profit private K – 12 schools to perform asbestos inspections, develop subsequent management plans (if asbestos is present), perform air sampling following asbestos abatement, and complete periodic re-inspections of the asbestos containing materials.
The Guzi-West team has performed asbestos inspections, conducted contractor oversight during asbestos abatement activities and prepared AHERA re-inspections for clients throughout northern California and can use our expertise to guide you through the complex word of asbestos compliance.