|The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)|
Although asbestos is no longer used in construction and the manufacturing of construction products and materials, the threat of exposure still exists. Many structures that were built before 1980 may still have asbestos roofs, furnaces, plumbing, floor tiles, fireplaces, and more. Exposure can occur during renovation or demolition, during a fire, or virtually any activity that can disturb the fibers. This may even include simple normal wear and tear resulting from age.
Because asbestos has not been completely eradicated from our environment and structures, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a number of laws that, “govern how asbestos materials are to be handled in schools, and in public and commercial buildings, including buildings that are to be demolished or are undergoing major renovations,” says the EPA. These laws help protect workers and the public from exposure to asbestos which, in turn, prevents asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma, and testicular mesothelioma.
While the EPA cannot turn back the clock to prevent asbestos exposure that occurred in the construction industry during the twentieth century, it can prevent today’s workers from facing a disheartening mesothelioma diagnosis 10 to 60 years from now.
Learn more about mesothelioma. Download the MRHFM Mesothelioma Infographic.
The EPA has several laws in place that govern asbestos management and removal including the:
- Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)
- Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act (ASHARA)
- National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos (NESHAP)
Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA)
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986 requires asbestos regulations in all private and public non-profit elementary and secondary schools. This led to the Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule which requires these schools to inspect for asbestos-containing building materials (ACBM).
According to the EPA, these schools are also required to:
(1) Develop a plan to manage the asbestos for each school building
(2) Notify parents and staff regarding the management plan availability
(3) Provide asbestos awareness training to school maintenance and custodial workers
(4) Implement timely actions to deal with dangerous asbestos situations
To learn more about AHERA, visit the EPA’s National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) or the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The OSHA regulates exposure to asbestos in the workplace.
Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act (ASHARA)
The Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act was established in 1990. Under the Act, all workers involved in asbestos activities in commercial buildings, public buildings, and schools must be accredited. Called the “Asbestos Model Accreditation Plan (40 CFR Part 763, Appendix C),” this law requires “accredited inspectors, workers, supervisors, project designers, and management planners (schools only) when conducting asbestos activities at schools, and public and commercial buildings,” according to the EPA. Under the ACT and Plan, the EPA “strongly recommends that asbestos-related activities conducted at public and commercial buildings follow the protocol for management and removal of asbestos-containing materials described in the Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule (40 CFR part 763).”
National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos (NESHAP)
Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, NESHAP establishes work practices to help minimize the release of asbestos fibers during activities involving the handling, processing, and disposal of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials during renovation or demolition, says the EPA. Established in 1973, NESHAP has been amended several times, most notably in November 1990 and in 1995. NESHAP requirements and standards are described in detail in 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M.
If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace, contact a doctor immediately. If exposure has occurred, you could develop an asbestos-related condition such as mesothelioma. No matter where exposure has occurred, it’s best to contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney here at MRHFM to learn about your legal rights as a mesothelioma victim. MRHFM is the largest firm exclusively devoted to helping mesothelioma victims and their families.
Cancer Research UK
United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Service Center for Environmental Publications