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Asbestos Removal and Demolition

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of six naturally-occurring silicate minerals, including serpentine (or chrysotile), riebeckite (crocidolite), cummingtonite-gunerite (amosite), anthophyllite, actinolite or tremolite. These minerals have been actively mined for their physical properties such as their resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage, sound absorption and tensile strength; thereby making their applicability widespread throughout various industries such as manufacturing and primarily in building construction for its flame retardant and insulating properties.

Health Hazards

The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses that are strongly associated with exposure to asbestos.  Airborne asbestos fibers are a significant health threat because asbestos fibers are microscopic and invisible to the unaided eye. In addition, they have the physical characteristics to bypass the ability of the human lung to filter air contaminants. As a result, exposure to asbestos allow the fibers to reach deep within the lungs, and may irritate and scar lung tissues. Long-term chronic and acute exposure to asbestos fibers may cause respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Asbestos containing materials become a health hazard once they are disturbed.  Intact, asbestos fibers imbedded within construction materials and components are inert and do not pose a health hazard; however, once they are disturbed, through physical contact or building renovation and demolition activities, asbestos fibers may be rendered airborne.

AQMD Rule 1403

AQMD Rule 1403, adopted by the SCAQMD on October 6, 1989, establishes Survey Requirements, notification and work practice requirements to prevent asbestos emissions from emanating during building renovation and demolition activities. 

Asbestos is a carcinogen and is categorized as a hazardous air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  As such, AQMD Rule 1403 incorporates the requirements of the federal asbestos requirements found in National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 40, Part 61, Subpart M.

The EPA delegated to SCAQMD the authority to enforce the federal asbestos NESHAP and the SCAQMD is the local enforcement authority for asbestos.

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This page updated: October 18, 2013
URL: http://www.aqmd.gov/comply/asbestos/asbestos.html