Asbestos was regularly used for construction prior to the 1980s. Since it served as a fireproofing material, the vast majority of public and commercial buildings constructed during this time relied on asbestos as a safety measure. Asbestos was used in pipes, tiles, shingles, wall board and adhesives. However, when damaged and exposed to air, asbestos becomes toxic. Individuals who breathe in air containing asbestos fibers are at risk of developing mesothelioma, cancer and other debilitating diseases.
New York State Asbestos Removal Regulations
In New York State, asbestos removal is discussed in Industrial Code Rule 56, also known as New York State Asbestos Law. The intent of this law is to protect the public from exposure to asbestos fibers and from the diseases that might result. According to this law, building owners are not required to inspect for asbestos in their buildings. However, if renovations or construction of any kind are planned, building owners must determine whether the material is present before proceeding. If they identify that asbestos is present, strict regulations about removal or encapsulation apply.
In New York State, workers who remove or encapsulate asbestos, or who disturb it in any way, are required to be licensed. There are nine types of such licenses, ranging from asbestos handlers to project designers. Before these individuals begin their work, air quality must be tested. In addition, 10 days notice must be given to residents or business tenants before work is begun.
The New York State Department of Labor is responsible for overseeing proper procedures regarding asbestos removal. The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration also work to share safe removal techniques and educate the public.
Can a Homeowner Remove Asbestos in NY?
According to the Industrial Code Rule 56, homeowners can remove their own asbestos. Asbestos removal in residential homes is permitted only in a single-family dwelling. The owner is exempt from licensing and training requirements. However, the transportation and disposal of all asbestos waste must be carried out by a qualified contractor and follow guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, if a homeowner hires someone to do asbestos removal work in a single-family dwelling, the provisions of New York state law do apply.
Where Can I Take Asbestos Waste?
The EPA does occasionally make available asbestos removal grants in New York, which can help homeowners offset the cost of proper removal of this hazardous waste. Some waste disposal companies will remove asbestos for a fee. Contractors will also do so, but in many cases the cost can be as high as $3,000. The EPA offers a list of landfills that accept asbestos waste, so contacting a facility near you for further instruction as to what’s permissible could be useful.