Asbestos is the common name for a group of naturally occurring mineral fibers which are known for their high tensile strength and thermal insulating properties. It is commonly found in heating system insulation, vinyl floor tiles and sheet flooring, roofing paper and shingles, cement siding shingles, and a variety of other building construction products. When asbestos is disturbed, it can break down into microscopic fibers that may become airborne. Once airborne, these fibers can be inhaled and trapped in the lungs, posing a health threat. Breathing asbestos can cause respiratory diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest cavity lining. More detailed information can be found on EPA’s asbestos Web site.
People often ask what they should do about asbestos in their homes. If the asbestos-containing-material is in good condition, leave it alone. If it is deteriorating, or will be disturbed during renovation or demolition, it must be removed. Homeowners in single family, owner-occupied homes may do the work themselves provided they will not be selling the home within 6 months, and they must package and dispose of the waste properly. However, DES urges caution and recommends using a licensed asbestos abatement contractor for most removal projects.
Inspection and Notification Requirements for Building Renovation and Demolition Projects
The greatest potential for exposure to asbestos fibers now occurs when asbestos containing building materials (ACBM) are disturbed during either building renovations or demolition. RSA 141-E and Chapter Env-A 1800 Asbestos Management and Control Rules were promulgated to address this potential hazard. These rules require that building owners and contractors take certain steps to identify and address asbestos hazards in structures prior to beginning any work that might disturb asbestos containing materials.
Inspection: Env-A 1804.01 requires that a thorough inspection be conducted for the presence of asbestos containing building materials (ACBM) prior to any demolition or renovation in the affected portions of the facility. The inspection must be conducted by a person accredited in the identification of ACBMs .
If asbestos is found and will be disturbed during any renovation or repair work, it must be removed properly and disposed of at an approved facility. Likewise, all asbestos must be removed prior to any building demolition project. In most cases, asbestos abatement activities must be performed by a licensed abatement contractor in accordance with the requirements in Env-A 1800.
Notification: Each facility owner must provide written notification to DES and the local health officer at least ten (10) working days before any building demolition activity occurs. This notification is required by Env-A 1803.03 for all building demolition projects regardless of the amount of asbestos present (even when no asbestos is present).
For renovation projects, written notification is required at least ten (10) working days prior to any asbestos abatement activity conducted as part of the renovation only if the abatement involves greater than 10 linear feet, or 25 square feet of ACBM. No notification is required for renovations if the amount of ACBM is less than this, or if there is no ACBM present that will be disturbed during the renovation.
Fee: A fee may be required depending on the amount of asbestos being removed.
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