(a) Findings

(1) exposure to asbestos fibers has been identified over a long period of time and by reputable medical and scientific evidence as significantly increasing the incidence of cancer and other severe or fatal diseases, such as asbestosis;

(2) medical evidence has suggested that children may be particularly vulnerable to environmentally induced cancers;

(3) medical science has not established any minimum level of exposure to asbestos fibers which is considered to be safe to individuals exposed to the fibers;

(4) substantial amounts of asbestos, particularly in sprayed form, have been used in school buildings, especially during the period 1946 through 1972;

(5) partial surveys in some States have indicated that

(A) in a number of school buildings materials containing asbestos fibers have become damaged or friable, causing asbestos fibers to be dislodged into the air, and

(B) asbestos concentration far exceeding normal ambient air levels have been found in school buildings containing such damaged materials;

(6) the presence in school buildings of friable or easily damaged asbestos creates an unwarranted hazard to the health of the school children and school employees who are exposed to such materials;

(7) the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as several States, have attempted to publicize the potential hazards to school children and employees from exposure to asbestos fibers, but there is no systematic program for remedying hazardous conditions in schools;

(8) because there is no Federal health standard regulating the concentration of asbestos fibers in noncommercial workplace environments such as schools, school employees and students may be exposed to hazardous concentrations of asbestos fibers in the school buildings which they use each day;

(9) without a program of information distribution, technical and scientific assistance, and financial support, many local educational agencies and States will not be able to mitigate the potential asbestos hazards in their schools; and

(10) the effective regulation of interstate commerce for the protection of the public health requires the establishment of programs under this subchapter to mitigate hazards from exposure to asbestos fibers and materials emitting such fibers.

(b) Purpose

(1) direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a program to assist States and local educational agencies to ascertain the extent of the danger to the health of school children and employees from asbestos materials in schools;

(2) provide continuing scientific and technical assistance to State and local agencies to enable them to identify and abate asbestos hazards in schools;

(3) provide financial assistance for the abatement of asbestos threats to the health and safety of school children or employees; and

(4) assure that no employee of any local educational agency suffers any disciplinary action as a result of calling attention to potential asbestos hazards which may exist in schools.

Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act (ASHAA)
Title 15, Chapter 53, Subchapter 2, Sec. 2641.

(a) Findings

(1) The Environmental Protection Agency’s rule on local educational agency inspection for, and notification of, the presence of friable asbestos-containing material in school buildings includes neither standards for the proper identification of asbestos-containing material and appropriate response actions with respect to friable asbestos-containing material, nor a requirement that response actions with respect to friable asbestos-containing material be carried out in a safe and complete manner once actions are found to be necessary. As a result of the lack of regulatory guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency, some schools have not undertaken response action while many others have undertaken expensive projects without knowing if their action is necessary, adequate, or safe. Thus, the danger of exposure to asbestos continues to exist in schools, and some exposure actually may have increased due to the lack of Federal standards and improper response action.

(2) There is no uniform program for accrediting persons involved in asbestos identification and abatement, nor are local educational agencies required to use accredited contractors for asbestos work.

(3) The guidance provided by the Environmental Protection Agency in its ”Guidance for Controlling Asbestos-Containing Material in Buildings” is insufficient in detail to ensure adequate responses. Such guidance is intended to be used only until the regulations required by this subchapter become effective.

(4) Because there are no Federal standards whatsoever regulating daily exposure to asbestos in other public and commercial buildings, persons in addition to those comprising the Nation’s school population may be exposed daily to asbestos.

(b) Purpose

(1) to provide for the establishment of Federal regulations which require inspection for asbestos-containing material and implementation of appropriate response actions with respect to asbestos-containing material in the Nation’s schools in a safe and complete manner;

(2) to mandate safe and complete periodic reinspection of school buildings following response actions, where appropriate; and

(3) to require the Administrator to conduct a study to find out the extent of the danger to human health posed by asbestos in public and commercial buildings and the means to respond to any such danger.

National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants

The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and enforce regulations to protect the general public from exposure to airborne contaminants that are known to be hazardous to human health. In accordance with Section 112 of the CAA, EPA established National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) to protect the public. Asbestos was one of the first hazardous air pollutants regulated under Section 112. On March 31, 1971, EPA identified asbestos as a hazardous pollutant, and on April 6, 1973, EPA first promulgated the Asbestos NESHAP in 40 CFR Part 61.

In 1990, a revised NESHAP regulation was promulgated by EPA. Information contained in this pamphlet is consistent with the amended regulation. This pamphlet answers the most commonly asked questions about the Asbestos NESHAP for demolitions and renovations. Many of the questions included in this pamphlet have been raised by demolition and renovation contractors in recent years. Most questions relate to how a demolition or renovation contractor or building owner can best comply with the regulation. The responses assume that the questioner has a basic understanding of the Asbestos NESHAP and demolition and renovation practices. A brief glossary of terms is also included at the back of the pamphlet.

The Asbestos NESHAP regulations protect the public by minimizing the release of asbestos fibers during activities involving the processing, handling, and disposal of asbestos-containing material. Accordingly, the Asbestos NESHAP specifies work practices to be followed during demolitions and renovations of all structures, installations, and buildings (excluding residential buildings that have four or fewer dwelling units). In addition, the regulations require the owner of the building and/or the contractor to notify applicable State and local agencies and/or EPA Regional Offices before all demolitions, or before renovations of buildings that contain a certain threshold amount of asbestos.
For more information about the Asbestos NESHAP or for answers to questions not covered in this pamphlet, contact the delegated State or local agency or the appropriate EPA Regional Office.


What is the purpose of the Asbestos NESHAP regulation?

The purpose is to protect the public health by minimizing the release of asbestos when facilities which contain asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are demolished or renovated.

How much regulated asbestos-containing material (RACM) is disposed of annually from demolition/renovation operations?

Approximately 5.7 million cubic feet of RACM is disposed of annually. In accordance with the regulation, most RACM is taken to landfills, where it is covered by soil or other debris in order to keep it from releasing asbestos fibers.

What is the difference between demolishing a facility and renovating it?

“Demolition” and “renovation” are defined in the regulation. You “demolish” a facility when you remove or wreck any load-supporting structural member of that facility or perform any related operations; you also “demolish” a facility when you burn it. You “renovate” a facility when you alter any part of that facility in any other manner. Renovation includes stripping or removing asbestos from the facility.

What percentage of asbestos related activities involve demolitions?

Demolitions comprise approximately 10% of all reported asbestos-related activities.

Is there a numeric emission limit for the release of asbestos fibers during renovations or demolitions in the asbestos NESHAP regulation?

No, the Asbestos NESHAP relating to demolitions or renovations is a work practice standard. This means that it does not place specific numerical emission limitations for asbestos fibers on asbestos demolitions and removals. Instead, it requires specific actions be taken to control emissions. However, the Asbestos NESHAP does specify zero visible emissions to the outside air from activity relating to the transport and disposal of asbestos waste.

Who is responsible for enforcing the Asbestos NESHAP standards?

Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, Congress gave EPA the responsibility for enforcing regulations relating to asbestos renovations and demolitions. The CAA allows EPA to delegate this authority to State and local agencies. Even after EPA delegates responsibility to a State or local agency, EPA retains the authority to oversee agency performance and to enforce NESHAP regulations as appropriate.