Michigan law on asbestos siding removal provides guidelines for the safe removal of this hazardous material. Beginning in the early 1900s up to the 1970s, many commercial and residential construction projects used siding or thousands of other asbestos-containing materials (ACM). Asbestos added to the processing made these materials stronger and less resistant to corrosion.
The laws regarding the removal of asbestos siding relates to the health effects of the material, especially when damaged or friable. When ACM becomes friable, the fibers may become airborne. These minute particles become easy to inhale; they often become embedded in the lung tissue. The body has difficulty breaking the fibers down, and after a prolonged period in the body, may cause lung cancer or other fatal diseases.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has federal jurisdiction for interior air quality and the laws concerning asbestos removal. The EPA delegates the enforcement to the states. In Michigan, the Construction Safety and Health Division's Asbestos Program have the oversight responsibility for outlining the training requirements for workers who remove ACM. The regulation they put forth not only protects employees, but also ensures the public in the setting or building do not come in contact with the material.
Employees involved in the removal of asbestos siding must complete an approved asbestos abatement course. All workers, supervisors, inspectors and other personnel must receive accreditation to work in Michigan. Individuals will have to undergo refresher courses to maintain their accreditation.
When the siding starts to disintegrate or becomes "friable," the contractor or individual working for another party must have a license from the Asbestos Program. Licensing necessitates proof of worker's compensation insurance and evidence that all employees have the necessary accreditation and payment of licensing fees. Certain exempt workers that have the proper training may remove the siding material as long as it does not exceed 160 square feet of siding.
Contractors must provide notices to the Asbestos Program concerning all asbestos removal or encapsulation projects which includes the removal of asbestos siding. A 10-day notice must precede all non-emergency work. In case of emergencies, the contractor may make notification by phone, fax or mail, but must receive approval and guidelines. The contractor must also pay a one-percent (of the project) notification fee.
In Michigan, homeowners with the necessary training may remove asbestos siding from their homes. Because of the carcinogenic attributes of ACM, homeowners may want to consider using professionals to complete the job. Regardless of who removes the asbestos siding, the person must take steps to reduce the possibility of releasing asbestos fiber into the environment. Regulations call for the contractor to wet down the siding while roving the material. When working up high, workers must use leak-proof chutes to lower the material to the ground. The waste must go into approved containers and taken to an approved toxic waste facility for disposal.