Indiana (IN) Asbestos Removal & Abatement Resources:

The Indiana State Department of Health describes asbestos as "a group of different minerals that occur naturally in the environment" that are made of "long, thin fibers that (4). The fibers in asbestos are very strong, and they resist conducting heat and chemical corrosion (4).  Because of the need to properly insulate and fireproof homes and business, asbestos has been used in many building materials (4).  Some of the common products that Indiana recognizes as potentially containing asbestos are insulation, ceiling and floor tiles, roof shingles, cement, automobile brakes, along with many others (4).  Unfortunately, the Indiana State Department of Health also recognizes asbestos as a health threat, as asbestos fibers are a known carcinogen (4).  When asbestos-containing materials are damaged, such as in demolition and renovation projects, asbestos fibers can be disturbed and become airborne (4).  Once fibers are in the air, they can remain suspended, and from this position they can be inhaled into the lungs (4).  Some of these can be carried away in a layer of mucus to the throat where they will be swallowed, and some may remain in the lung tissue (4).  For this reason, the health effects of asbestos exposure can reach the lungs and the stomach, where they can develop into different kinds of cancers (4). 

Since the United States has become aware of this problem, many regulations were initiated in the 1990s and continue today in all aspects of asbestos handling and emission standards (4). The Indiana government, along with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration all control the restriction of asbestos-containing material, exposure levels at schools, asbestos emissions from factories and during demolition and renovation projects, and the proper disposal of asbestos waste in Indiana (4).  All of these rules, regulations, and laws were set forth to minimize exposure and keep workers, the public, and the environment safe.

Asbestos Professionals

Since asbestos can be so dangerous, all individuals who are hired to work with asbestos must be licensed in Indiana (5). While private residence owners of fewer than four housing dwellings may perform asbestos abatement in their own homes, all public, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings are considered regulated buildings, and all asbestos related activity must be performed by licensed professionals (2).  Indiana separates asbestos professionals into seven categories, all of which require different levels of experience, training and fees in order to earn a license (5).  These categories of asbestos licensing are contractors, individual workers, building inspectors, project supervisors, project designers, management planners, and waste disposal managers (5).   Since each of these professionals is responsible for specific duties, the intensity, length, and content of initial training courses vary (2).  For example, the initial training course for a general asbestos worker must be four days in length and include lectures, demonstrations, at least fourteen hours of hands-on training, individual respirator fit testing, course review, and a written examination (2).  The topics of instruction for this type of worker include physical characteristics of asbestos, potential health risks related to asbestos exposure, employee personal protective equipment, state-of-the-art work practices, personal hygiene, hazards encountered during asbestos abatement and how to handle them, medical monitoring, air monitoring, relevant federal, state, and local regulations, the establishment of respiratory protection programs, and course review (2).  Each of these topics has several specific subtopics that must be discussed in detail (2).  Even after asbestos professionals take and pass a written examination and are officially licensed by the State of Indiana, licenses in all of these areas expire after one year (2).  This arrangement requires workers to attend refresher courses to stay current on all new safety technology and rules and regulations (2).  All of this training provides these professionals with the knowledge needed to keep themselves, the public and the environment safe when they learn to follow strict procedures.

Asbestos Abatement Procedures

Before any demolition or renovation activity can occur in a regulated facility, the area or building must be inspected by an Indiana licensed inspector to see if it meets the requirements for notification and regulations (1).  If it is found that the premise has more than three linear feet of asbestos-containing materials on or off piping, more than three square feet on or off other facility components, or more than .75 cubic feet total on all facility components, then the building is subject to all notification and regulations (1).  In some cases, like in demolition, it may be subject even if it does not meet those minimums (1).  One of the main work practices that workers must follow in demolition and renovation projects to limit emissions of asbestos fibers is that all friable asbestos-containing material (those materials that can be reduced to a power with hand pressure when dry) must be removed before any activity takes place that could disturb the materials (3).  Before any asbestos-containing materials are handled, they must be thoroughly wetted to prevent dust, and the asbestos must remain wetted until it is sealed in leak tight packaging that has warning labels (3).  These warning labels must read "DANGER.  CONTAINS ASBESTOS FIBERS. AVOID CREATING DUST. CANCER AND LUNG DISEASE HAZARD" (3). In addition, the Indiana Department of Labor requires that an appropriate combination of respiratory equipment be used in conjunction with these wet methods (3).  Personal and environmental air monitoring must be conducted at regular intervals, and whenever airborne asbestos concentrations limits are passed, all workers must be provided with special protective clothing (3).  All work sites must have signs posted that warn all who enter facility about the health hazards of the premise (3).  At the end of the abatement, all surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned of any remaining debris (3).  From this point, the waste must be properly disposed of, following equally strict regulations.

Indiana asbestos workers must adhere to many very specific federal and state laws regarding the proper handling of asbestos.  While they may seem stringent, these rules and regulations are crucial in keeping the workers, the public, and the environment safe from the health risks of asbestos. All professionals who work with asbestos complete rigorous training courses and annual refresher courses to ensure that they are aware of all of the most current regulations and safety precautions.  To avoid possible contamination of asbestos, it is always best to let a qualified asbestos worker test for and remove asbestos containing materials.  If you believe that there may be dangerous asbestos containing materials in your building, especially prior to a renovation or demolition, contact an inspector or consultant to discuss your particular options.  There are many qualified asbestos professionals right in Indiana who can help you with any asbestos related needs.

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