Often times we hear clients saying that our building does not contain asbestos because their facility was constructed after 1980. This is SO WRONG!
If this were the fact, it would mean that they are not subject to asbestos inspection and sampling provisions required by EPA’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (Asbestos NESHAP). The Asbestos NESHAP states that “the owner or operator of a demolition or renovation activity and prior to the commencement of the demolition or renovation will thoroughly inspect the affected facility or part of the facility where the demolition or renovation operation will occur for the presence of asbestos.” The Asbestos NESHAP regulations apply to all public, commercial, industrial, or institutional structures.
The regulation requires that the owner or operator of a structure perform a thorough asbestos inspection of any area that will undergo renovation or demolition activity prior to the commencement of such activity. The regulation does not contain any time frame or date of construction after which an asbestos inspection need not be performed.
Contrary to popular belief, many building materials (i.e. vinyl-asbestos floor tile, mastics, roofing felt and coatings, asbestos-cement products, millboards and gaskets) can still be produced due to a 1991 court of appeals partial overturn of the “Asbestos Ban and Phase Out” rule. Though most U.S. manufacturers do not manufacture products with asbestos (due to the liability) there are several countries that have or do not care about asbestos health concerns and are happy to sell the U.S. products containing asbestos. And as the U.S. manufactures very little in comparison to 20 years ago there is a real possibility that building owners may be purchasing and installing asbestos in their newer or newly renovated buildings, or worse yet, after removing the asbestos that was there in the first place!
It is important to remember that once an asbestos containing material has been installed in your facility, it is yours from cradle to grave and all asbestos regulations regarding apply to you from that point forward. Also, if you remove materials that contain asbestos as part of renovation or demolition, all of the asbestos rules and regulations still apply but now at a much larger cost and potential exposure to lawsuits and a larger liability.
It is essential that building owners work with professional environmental consulting firms that are accredited and licensed to understand the regulatory requirements as they relate to asbestos and to ensure that they perform projects (renovation or demolition) in full compliance with applicable regulations.
If you would like to speak to one of our expert Environmental Services Professionals to further discuss these or other issues, please call us at 630-654-2550.