The line is blurred for a few reasons. Some materials remained in stock and were sold and used until the supply was exhausted. Additionally, because the asbestos phase out and ban was largely vacated, some asbestos products (gaskets, clutches, non-roof coatings, roof coatings, roof felts, cement products, clothing, vinyl floor tile) may still be manufactured, imported and sold in the United States. Spray applied materials, joint compounds, thermal insulations and new uses for asbestos are not allowed.
Confused? Yes, the situation is muddled, however to comply with the many asbestos regulations (federal, state and local), keep in mind the following:
Any building regardless of age may have asbestos-containing materials (ACM) present. This is especially true with regards to materials in a bituminous or resinous binder such as roofing mastics. Trade agreements such as NAFTA allow manufactured products from countries including Mexico and Canada where there is no ban on asbestos use.
Regulatory agencies vary on how this is addressed. According to Cal-OSHA, construction materials in buildings constructed prior to 1980 are considered a presumed asbestos containing material (PACM) until tested and proved otherwise although post 1980 construction is not directly addressed which leads to confusion. While the US EPA requires building materials to be sampled prior to disturbance, or otherwise proven to be asbestos free, regardless of construction date.
Impacting building materials without knowing whether it contains asbestos or not can bring about serious consequences including possibly compromising the health and well-being of those exposed as well as significant regulatory violations.
Recently, a construction manager responsible for renovating a newer building, constructed in the early 1980s, directed his contractor to remove vinyl flooring with the mistaken assumption that since the building he was renovating was built after 1980, asbestos was not an issue. However, the South Coast Air Quality Management (SCAQMD), consistent with federal requirements under NESHAPS, requires a survey of the building prior to renovation or demolition to determine if any materials contain asbestos and the proper removal of any materials so identified, regardless of the age of the building.
Prior to discovering that this material had been removed before it was tested it had already been placed in the disposal bin.
If the material was found to contain asbestos the following would have been triggered:
Avoid problems. Prior to undertaking a building renovation or demolition it is important to have a proper asbestos investigation completed to avoid lengthy and costly delays as well as potential regulatory action.
Want more information? Contact us at (888) 608-3010.