Who Performs Asbestos Abatement?
Laws and regulations pertaining to asbestos abatement differ slightly from state to state. Though in most states it is legal for homeowners without other tenants to perform asbestos removal in their own homes, it is an extremely risky process and the EPA highly recommends hiring a professional.
Types of Licenses
For a firm to provide and advertise asbestos abatement services, employees must complete training as laid out under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) of 1986. The EPA’s Model Accreditation Plan specifies five training disciplines: worker, contractor/supervisor, inspector, management planner, and project designer. It also recommends a course of training for project monitors. In additional to initial training, asbestos professionals must attend refresher courses periodically in order to keep their licenses.
As per AHERA, asbestos abatement professionals must be able to recognize asbestos-containing materials and the health hazards that come with their handling. They must be able to assess risk based on the friability (ease of being crumbled), age, deterioration, location, and accessibility of the materials, as well as the amount of asbestos they contain. They must be trained in the use of respirators, high efficiency particle absolute (HEPA) vacuums, amended water, and negative air pressure equipment. They must know how to isolate work areas and be prepared to implement emergency procedures should a sudden release of asbestos fibers happen. Finally, they must be knowledgeable of transportation and disposal requirements as well as personal hygiene practices that protect themselves and their families from the dangers of asbestos fibers lingering on the hair and skin.
Finding a Contractor
Most states keep detailed listings of licensed asbestos professionals available online. Abatement is a prosperous business because of the ubiquity of asbestos-containing materials in older buildings. It is often an expensive process, but the benefits of hiring a professional greatly outweigh taking the risk of attempting to perform the removal one’s self.