The biggest environmental misconception may be placing you, your employees, your clients and families at risk for exposure to asbestos, and vulnerable to regulatory non-compliance violations. The general belief that the use of asbestos fiber in building materials has been banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an untruth. In fact, you don’t need to conduct extensive research to figure this one out. Just visit the EPA’s website.
Yet renovation, tenant improvements (TIs), and demolition work in buildings is conducted daily without regard to the exposure potential. All building materials that are not glass, metal or wood, and regardless of the year of construction, are asbestos-containing until sampled and proven otherwise in accordance with the EPA’s AHERA protocol.
The State of Arizona asbestos program is handled through the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), which has jurisdiction in all counties with the exception of Maricopa, Pima and Pinal. These three counties have delegated authority from the EPA to enforce the Asbestos NESHAP regulations. In addition, they have requirements above and beyond the federal standards. The EPA, as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforce asbestos regulations across the State of Arizona.
All facilities, with the exception of single residences, must be inspected by an EPA accredited inspector for asbestos prior to disturbance. A NESHAP notification must be submitted if regulated activities are to occur. Building materials may be assumed to contain asbestos, but a negative assumption for asbestos is not permissible. For your own safety and well-being be sure and contact a reputable asbestos consultant prior to construction activity.