What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant. While some asbestos products have been banned, asbestos is still found in building materials being produced today. Asbestos is most commonly found in older homes, in pipe and furnace insulation materials, asbestos shingles, millboard, textured paints and other coating materials, and floor tiles.
Why Asbestos Is a Hazard
Asbestos is made up of microscopic bundles of fibers that may become airborne when disturbed. These fibers get into the air and may become inhaled into the lungs, where they may cause significant health problems. A "safe level" of exposure has not been determined but the greater and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos is not always an immediate hazard. In fact, if asbestos can be maintained in good condition, it is recommended that it be left alone and to be checked periodically to monitor its condition. It is only when asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are disturbed or the materials become damaged that it becomes a hazard. When the materials become damaged, the fibers separate and may then become airborne. In the asbestos industry, the term "friable" is used to describe asbestos that can be reduced to dust by hand pressure. "Non-friable" means asbestos that is too hard to be reduced to dust by hand. Machine grinding, sanding and dry-buffing are ways of causing non-friable materials to become friable.
Notification Requirements (Certified Asbestos Inspector)
Prior to beginning renovation or demolition activities of a facility, a certified Asbestos inspector must thoroughly inspect the facility or part of the facility where the renovation or demolition operation will occur for the presence of asbestos, including friable and non-friable asbestos-containing materials.
A written notification is required for renovation and demolition operations. All notifications must be postmarked or delivered at least 10 working days prior to beginning activity.
For further requirements, review the following National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) Asbestos Regulations: