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Asbestos Safety and Removal Resources

Many older houses, workplace buildings, and vehicles still contain asbestos even though the health risks have been well-known for decades. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, which is an incurable cancer. If you’re concerned about asbestos-based products in your home or car, be cautious and have them removed by a professional as soon as possible.

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

Last updated:

Important Resources for Asbestos Information

As per the EPA, contact your state asbestos contact if you suspect there is asbestos present in your home or workplace.

Some states participate in the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) to protect schools from asbestos. Some contacts have AHERA designation.

Other state contacts are designated as National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) contacts to monitor hazardous air pollutants.

Alabama

  • Don Barron (NESHAP): 334-271-7879
  • Ashley Chambers: 205-348-9761

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Mexico

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

  • Asbestos Coordinator (Portland Office) Hillarie Sales: 503-229-5448 or 800-452-4011 x5448, [email protected]
  • Western Region (Salem Office) Dottie Boyd: 503-378-5086 or 800-349-7677
  • Western Region (Medford Office) Steven Croucher: 541-776-6107 or 877-823-3216
  • Western Region (Coos Bay Office) Martin Abts: 541-269-2721, ext. 222
  • Eastern Region (Bend Office) Frank Messina: 541-633-2019 or 866-863-6668
  • Eastern Region (Pendleton Office) Tom Hack: 541-278-4626 or 800-304-3513
  • Lane Regional Air Protection Agency: 541-736-1056

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

What Should I Do if I Have Asbestos in My Home or Workplace?

Although the dangers of asbestos have been known since the early 1980s, millions of buildings and vehicles contain the deadly material to this day.

Asbestos is incredibly dangerous. When inhaled or swallowed, asbestos fibers can stick to the linings of organs and irritate healthy tissue for decades. This can cause victims to develop deadly cancers like mesothelioma long after initial asbestos exposure.

Did You Know? According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure. It is imperative that you take action to protect yourself and quickly remove dangerous asbestos.

Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can help you connect with professionals who can remove dangerous asbestos-based products.

Asbestos in the Home

If you believe there is asbestos in your home, do not try to handle or remove it yourself. Doing so may cause asbestos fibers to fly into the air, putting everyone at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.

According to the EPA, asbestos-based products that are undisturbed and not damaged usually do not pose a health risk and can be left alone until removal.

The EPA suggests hiring an inspector if you believe asbestos in your home could be dangerous. Inspectors can recommend the next steps to keep you and your family safe.

Asbestos in the Workplace

If you believe there is asbestos in your workplace, contact your supervisor. The building or worksite should be inspected to see if asbestos-based products are indeed present and if they should be removed.

Those in the construction, automotive, and shipyard industries may have an increased risk of exposure. OSHA set standards in place to protect workers from exposure such as requiring employers to regulate high exposure areas, provide personal protective equipment, and more. Make sure your workplace is following all asbestos safety guidelines.

Hiring Asbestos Inspectors and Removal Contractors

There are two different types of asbestos contractors: inspectors and removal contractors. An asbestos inspector will extract samples of the area to determine if and how the material needs to be removed. An asbestos contractor physically removes the asbestos in an area.

The EPA recommends that homeowners work with accredited professionals when inspecting their homes for asbestos. Accredited professionals are trained in removal and can help you remove asbestos in your home.

Federal law does not require any inspectors or removal contractors to be accredited, but some states do.

How to Hire a Professional Asbestos Inspector

An inspector can confirm the presence of asbestos in a building. This is the first step that should be taken if you suspect asbestos in your home or workplace.

An asbestos inspector will safely collect a sample of an area or product to test it in a laboratory. If the inspector finds that your home has an asbestos problem, they will provide you with a report detailing the next steps that should be taken to protect everyone in the area.

Visit the EPA website to find an accredited inspector in your area.

How to Hire an Asbestos Removal Contractor

An asbestos removal specialist physically repairs or gets rid of areas and products that contain asbestos. A removal specialist is typically hired after an inspector finds asbestos in the area.

Did You Know? The EPA suggests that homeowners should ensure asbestos removal contractors adhere to a written contract outlining the work being done in the home.

The EPA also recommends that homeowners monitor contractors to make sure the contractor is not spreading asbestos fibers while working, properly disposes of removal tools and clothing, and more. Learn more about ensuring safe practices for asbestos removal contractors on the EPA website.

Most states also run their own asbestos programs that can offer more help to citizens. Access the EPA’s full list of asbestos contacts by state.

What Should I Do if My Car Contains Asbestos?

Some older car brake pads, brake linings, clutch facings, and gaskets were also made with asbestos.

If you believe your car contains asbestos, the EPA recommends that you should only get the parts replaced or repaired by automotive shops that follow OSHA safety regulations. These regulations are set to keep you and the repair person safe from asbestos exposure.

When searching for a repair shop to replace your car’s parts, be sure to ask about their safety practices for asbestos-containing products.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

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References
  1. Car parts still carry asbestos. (2005, December 28). Retrieved September 29, 2021, from https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2005/12/28/national/car-parts-still-carry-asbestos/

  2. Current Best Practices For Preventing Asbestos Exposure Among Brake and Clutch Repair Workers. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/current-best-practices-preventing-asbestos-exposure-among-brake-and-clutch-repair-workers-0

  3. Department of Labor United States department of labor. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.osha.gov/asbestos

  4. O’Brien, M. (2019, March 13). The stunning truth about asbestos use in the U.S. Retrieved September 29, 2021, from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/decades-after-proof-of-its-carcinogenic-properties-asbestos-still-surrounds-us

  5. Protect Your Family from Exposures to Asbestos. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/protect-your-family-exposures-asbestos#whattodo

  6. State Asbestos Contacts. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/state-asbestos-contacts

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