Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that is used in many applications for its fire resistance, noise insulation and electrical insulation properties. Common uses prior to the mid-1970s included building products such as pipe insulation, acoustical sound-proofing, house insulation, fireproofing, house siding, floor coverings, roof materials and heating and cooling systems.
There are two general forms of asbestos: friable and non-friable.
Friable asbestos can be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry and is the most dangerous form as the fibers can more easily escape into the air. Examples:
Sheet Vinyl (such as linoleum) with a paper or felt backing
Pipe and Boiler Insulation (chalky blocked or gray card-board type)
Duct Insulation (a continuous wrap of gray paper on duct or gray tape on duct joints)
Decorative Sprayed-On Materials (commonly known as popcorn ceiling)
Non-friable asbestos cannot easily be pulverized or reduced to a powder. Non-friable asbestos fibers are bound into a matrix and cannot easily escape into the air. Non-friable asbestos waste materials should be predominantly whole pieces. Non-friable asbestos that is damaged to the extent that it can be crumbled or reduced to a powder by hand pressure may be handled and packaged like friable asbestos.
Floor Tiles broken into no more than 1/3 to 1/2 per tile
Cement Board (such as siding or roofing tiles) broken into no more than 1/3 or 1/2 per shingle
Roofing (three-tab composition or roofing felt) with a viable petroleum binder
Resilient floor tile, roof felts, asphalt tiles, asphalt mastics and transite roof shingles and piping are considered non-friable forms of asbestos, unless they are or will be damaged during demolition or renovation activities.
Asbestos is regulated under the authority of multiple statues. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates asbestos as a solid waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), as a hazardous substance under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), as a building material under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), limits effluent discharges for asbestos fibers in water under the Clean Water Act, and as an airborne contaminant under the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Program (NESHAP) in accordance with the Clean Air Act.
The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) has the in-state authority to regulate asbestos under The Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The DOL regulates inspection and assessment activities for asbestos as well as the safe removal and handling of asbestos-containing materials (abatement). The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulates the transportation and proper disposal of asbestos-containing materials wastes and soils. The New York State Department of Labor certifies asbestos abatement contractors, asbestos abatement workers, asbestos abatement supervisors and asbestos building inspectors.
Asbestos is often contained in buildings that are being demolished or renovated. During these operations, asbestos may be released as an airborne contaminant. State air pollution regulations require that inspections for asbestos-containing materials be conducted by a state-certified asbestos inspector prior to renovation or demolition of any building or structure. Friable asbestos-containing materials that will be disturbed must be removed prior to the start of remodeling or demolition activities. Federal and state regulations require written notification of planned asbestos abatement work prior to the start of projects.
Friable asbestos-containing material from surveyed and non-surveyed/non-abated demolitions must be transported directly by a NYS DEC Part 364 permitted waste transporter. Only 6NYCRR Part 364 permitted waste transporters may deliver asbestos and asbestos-containing material. All material containing asbestos must be accompanied with a proper non-hazardous waste manifest form. Non-Friable asbestos is currently regulated by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as construction and demolition debris and must be handled as such.
In accordance with NYS DOL Code Rule 56, Subpart 5 [CR 56-5.1 (c)], a building/structure that is certified to be unsound or slated for contracted demolition, the building/structure shall be assumed to contain asbestos, and shall be demolished and removed in accordance with DOL CR 56 guidelines, unless the building/structure is adequately certified to be free of asbestos-containing material. Acceptable documentation for certification shall be a previous thorough building/structure asbestos survey, abatement records or other documentation acceptable to the NYS DOL.
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