Hazardous and Solid Waste

Asbestos Regulation—A Cross-Cutting Issue, Part 1

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that occurs naturally in several forms (including vermiculite). Thanks to its strong fiber and heat resistant qualities, asbestos has been used for hundreds of years, more recently in everything from insulation to roof shingles to packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Unfortunately, asbestos is now known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis (noncancerous lung disease).

Asbestos is at its worst when it becomes airborne, sometimes called friable asbestos*, such as when it is removed from products, equipment, or buildings in a way that allows it to separate into tiny fibers. Asbestos fibers are too small to see with the naked eye but when inhaled, can cause lung scaring that leads to disease, loss of lung function, and even death.  As a result, both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the EPA have determined that there is no safe level of exposure for any type of asbestos fiber and have passed laws and regulations to protect workers as well as the public from asbestos contamination.

Learn the key laws and regulations addressing asbestos containing material (ACM) in the workplace, both general industry and construction and much more during our in-depth webinar on April 9, 2014.
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The laws and regulations now in place evolved over time, which explains in part why there are so many. It is important to note, however, that one of the first laws, the 1989 Asbestos Ban and Phaseout Rule was overturned in 1991 so only a few products containing asbestos remain banned in the United States. Those that now apply to asbestos management, removal, and disposal are as follows.

The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) promulgated under the Title II of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which required the EPA to develop regulations that:

  • Required local educational agencies to inspect their school buildings for asbestos-containing building material, prepare asbestos management plans, and perform asbestos response actions to prevent or reduce asbestos hazards, the result of which was the Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule (40CFR Part 73, Subpart E); and
  • Developed a model plan for states to use for accrediting workers conducting asbestos inspection and corrective-action activities at schools.  The result was the Asbestos Model Accreditation Plan (MAP).

The Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule consists of multiple requirements for different activities associated with asbestos- abatement in educational facilities (including public, private, charter, and religious schools), all of which are covered in appendices to Subpart E, including:

  • Interim Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) analytical methods,
  • Interim method of the determination of asbestos in bulk insulation samples,
  • The MAP, and
  • Transport and disposal of asbestos waste.

Join us on April 9 for an in-depth webinar where our expert, a seasoned EHS professional who has helped other companies proactively address asbestos concerns, will provide participants with a proven, practical strategy to develop and implement a compliant and liability avoiding asbestos operations and maintenance program.

The Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act (ASHARA) of 1990:

  • Provided an extension of funding for the asbestos abatement grant and loan program for schools,
  • Required the EPA to increase the number of training hours required for the different types of training under the MAP (promulgated in February 1994), and
  • Expanded the accreditation requirements for schools to include all asbestos abatement activities in all public and commercial buildings.

The Asbestos Worker Protection Rule, promulgated under Section 6 of TSCA, expanded asbestos protection for state and local government employees working in asbestos activities but who were not covered under OSHA asbestos regulations.

Tomorrow we will review the remaining EPA regulations that cover asbestos—Clean Air Act’s (CAA) National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

*Friable Asbestos Any material containing more than one percent asbestos and that can be crumbled or reduced to powder by hand pressure. (May include previouslynonfriable… material,  which becomes broken or damaged by mechanical force.) 


3 thoughts on “Asbestos Regulation—A Cross-Cutting Issue, Part 1”

  1. Your statement at the beginning is not correct that … (OSHA)… determined that there is no safe level of exposure for any type of asbestos fiber and have passed laws and regulations to protect workers as well as the public from asbestos contamination. Actually there is a PEL in 29CFR 1910.1001(c)(1) expressed as a Time weighted average (TWA)as 0.5 fibers per cubic centimeter of air sampled.

  2. As a recent tenant (one who was exposed to Airborne Asbestos)(Intentionally) by way of Prior and Working Knowledge of the presents of Asbestos, Asbestos Containing Material and Presumed Asbestos Containing Material,and its nondisclosure of such to anyone. I have for the past year and a half researched day and night, from OSH Act of 1970 to California Penal Code 387 and everything in-between. I will tell you one thing I found to be common to all the Fed and State Regs and Statues, Codes and so on…that one thing is ” To Protect each and every one of us from the needless and preventable Hazardous Toxic Exposure to Asbestos”. It is, I feel a basic human decency issue, “Give everyone, employees, tenants, contractors, children, as is their right the information to protect themselves, by way of Disclosure. We lost our home, our personal property and all the while it could have been prevented by those that had the Knowledge and in this case the lack of courage to disclose the information to us. We came out on the short end as we have no means to finance our efforts any further…but it is not just about us, it is about those 12 workers that were working in the home that still have yet not been informed(as mandated) by their employer, of their Hazardous Toxic Exposure to Airborne Asbestos. I have, submitted formal official Complaints to all of the Departments that Govern this “Elephant in the room” to include; The State Attorney General, CAL/OSHA, Commissioner of Insur, Cal Real Estate Chairman, Contractors Lic Board and the County DA. and provided all the details, all the documents, all the emails and test results (4 pounds of documents)along with a time table of events regarding who by name and title, the what and the where. I for one, can not and will not be held just as guilty as those who willfully concealed it from me and my family. I see no ease of mind, until I know those persons exposed have been given a Choice, as is Mandated and Ordered within the meaning and wording of the laws regarding Asbestos and their BASIC HUMAN DECENCY Factor.
    I encourage everyone to, if not this Opportunity then one to your liking, take a few hours/days to learn how to protect not only yourselves but also, your employees and family. They will thank you or in my hope, won’t have to thank you in 15 to 20 years.

    Thank You for you time,
    US Marine Veteran

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