Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion. It contains the minerals chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite. Some of the main uses for this mineral is in insulation for pipes, floor tiles and other building materials that need to be fire resistant. Some of these materials are roofing and siding shingles, vinyl floor tiles, plaster, cement, putties, caulk, ceiling tiles and spray-on coatings. Asbestos is a well-known health hazard and its use is highly regulated by both OSHA and the EPA. The most likely exposure is in the construction industry or in shipyards. This mineral is especially dangerous because the fibers associated with the health risks cannot be seen with the naked eye. Breathing asbestos can cause a buildup of scar tissue in the lungs that can then causes a loss of lung function that can progress to disability and even death. The most commonly used form of asbestos, chrysotile, has been known to cause mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer in which a fatal malignant tumor or the membrane lining the cavity of the lung or stomach (Safety and Health Topics https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos).
In July of 1989 the EPA banned the use of asbestos in all common building products and then they revised it in 1991. After the revision the following materials are still banned: flooring felt, rollboard, and corrugated, commercial or specialty paper. Along with banning these products it also banned the use of asbestos in products that were not typically known as containing asbestos.
Sample Policy and Procedure
Regulations under the Clean Air Act specify work practices for asbestos to be followed during demolitions and renovations of all structures, installations, and buildings. These regulations however exclude residential buildings that have four or fewer dwelling units. The regulations require the owner of the building to notify the appropriate agency before any demolition, or before any renovations of buildings that may contain asbestos in any way. In order to remove asbestos you must be an asbestos professional. In order to be an asbestos professional you must go through a training program that is at least as stringent as the EPA Model Accreditation Plan. For example if you are a homeowner and you notice a hole in your wall you should first seal off the room. You should then notify an asbestos removal firm. The room should remain sealed until the consultant arrives and figures the best way to attack the program. You should avoid trying to remove the problem yourself without any kind of protection. After the asbestos is removed you need to make sure that the asbestos waste is properly disposed of. You are only allowed to remove asbestos if it is in a residential building with less than four dwelling units and you are the owner, otherwise it is a good decision to hire a professional firm that will remove the asbestos and take care of all of the waste.
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