Asbestos removal regulation provides guidelines for the safe removal of asbestos. Starting in the 1900s up until the 1970s, residential and commercial construction projects in New York and across the nation made wide use of asbestos containing materials. Asbestos sturdiness, insulation capacity and resistance to deterioration made it a common choice of manufacturers; it was used in over 3,000 building products.
Many homes and commercial buildings contain a wide range of asbestos containing materials (ACM), including plaster, ductwork, adhesives, insulation and floor and ceiling tiles. Many plumbing, wiring and heating products have high levels of asbestos minerals. These materials may become disturbed during renovation or demolition activities. When ACM crumbles or break up, it becomes "friable." This material produces fibers that become airborne; and, inhalation into the lungs over a prolonged duration, may lead to illness, such as respiratory diseases, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The New York department of Labor, Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Health and Safety administration have the responsibility to regulate processes and activities concerning the installation, removal, encapsulation, application or enclosure of asbestos containing materials. The New York State Department of Health has jurisdiction over "air quality and the Asbestos Safety Training Program. This program provides regulatory oversight of the necessary training required for the removal of asbestos and the providers.
Rules exist for the type of protective equipment and clothing workers must wear, and transportation and disposal of the asbestos waste material. The New York State Labor Law and Industrial Code Rule 56 spells out requirements for contract licensing, workers certifications and procedures for filing notifications.
Testing for Asbestos
Homeowners or commercial property owners should consider having asbestos testing completed before undertaking repairs, renovation or demolition. A licensed professional must conduct an asbestos survey, which consists of an examination of the space or building. The technician must use specific techniques to evaluate the environment. New York law requires various testing procedures, including Phase Contrast Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy.
New York law allows homeowners to legally remove asbestos from their home; however, the New York Department of Health recommends hiring professionals to do the job because of the carcinogenic attributes of asbestos containing materials.
Asbestos removal companies and workers require credentials, such as the Asbestos Certificate of Competence and the Asbestos Handling License. Workers must wear certain clothing and properly seal off the workspace to prepare the area for asbestos removal or "abatement." This includes closing off doorways, windows and ducts. The employer must ensure the space meets specific air quality standards. The regulations prohibit the dry removal of asbestos containing material.
The workers must saturate the material with water. All waste must go immediately into waterproof containers, properly sealed, and labeled as toxic. The law requires disposal only at a facility approved for the waste. The workers have specific rules for clean up of the work area. The workers have to follow strict rules for cleaning the workspace.