Asbestos Testing FAQ
1. When Was Asbestos Banned in the United States?
To most people’s surprise, it really hasn’t been fully banned.
In July 1989, the EPA issued the Asbestos Ban and Phase-Out Rule (ABPR), which planned to impose a full ban on the manufacturing, importation, processing and sale of asbestos-containing products.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ban in 1991, allowing it to apply only to asbestos products that were not being manufactured, processed or imported on July 12, 1989, which was the day the EPA announced the ABPR.
In April 2019 EPA issued a final rule that strengthens the Agency’s ability to rigorously review an expansive list of asbestos products that are no longer on the market before they could be sold again in the United States.
Examples of products prohibited from entering the market under this rule include the following:
- Adhesives and sealants
- Cement products
- Pipeline wrap
- Roofing felt
- Vinyl-asbestos floor tile
- Roof and non-roof coatings
- Reinforced plastics
- Other building products
For a more complete answer, visit our Blog entry, When Was Asbestos Banned in the United States?
2. Which buildings are most likely to contain asbestos?
The greatest likelihood for finding ACM (asbestos containing materials) in residential or commercial structures are those built or remodeled during the period 1940 to 1980. However, we do find asbestos in older buildings as well as some that are much newer.
3. Where is asbestos found?
Generally speaking we will take samples from flooring, walls, siding, ceilings, roofing, insulation, and any other suspect asbestos containing materials.
4. Is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos, when left undisturbed, is generally harmless. Danger arises, however, when asbestos is disturbed and becomes friable (can be powdered by hand) and can be inhaled into the lungs, potentially causing serious health problems.
5. What specifically do DEQ, SWCAA, Metro transfer stations, commercial waste haulers and regional landfills require when it comes to asbestos testing?
Generally speaking, both the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency (SWCAA) require samples of each type of material suspected to contain asbestos be collected by an accredited Asbestos Building Inspector and analyzed by an accredited lab prior to the start of any renovation or demolition activity. The inspector compiles all the data into a Report of Asbestos Survey that must be on site during the renovation or demolition activity.
In addition to the state agencies, local jurisdictions in Oregon are allowed to create their own rules. The first to do so was Portland when they published their Interim Demolition Administrative Rules. These actually created a completely different report for the building inspector to compile, a Comprehensive Asbestos Inspection and Testing report.
The Metro transfer stations, commercial waste haulers, and regional landfills require that a copy of the Asbestos Building Inspector’s report be presented with every load of construction debris.
At EnviroTest, we stay in close contact with all jurisdictions, making sure we have the most up-to-date information available. By using EnviroTest to conduct your asbestos survey ensures that all required materials will be sampled and tested and the results will be presented in a format easily reviewed by DEQ, SWCAA, the Metro transfer station bay spotter, your commercial waste hauler, or regional landfill operator.
6. How long does an asbestos test take?
On most facilities, we can perform our inspection and take samples in less than two hours. If timing is critical, we can usually get the results that very same day!