Ohio (OH) Asbestos Removal & Abatement Resources:

The Ohio Department of Health recognizes asbestos as a group of naturally occurring minerals that were commonly added to products to strengthen them and make then head resistant and fireproof (3).  The Ohio Department of Health uses the United States Environmental Protection Agency for further details about the uses and health effects of asbestos, which states that while most products are now asbestos-free, in the 1970s many building and insulating products contained asbestos (1).  Some products to be especially suspect of are stem pipes, boilers, furnace ducts, floor tiles, vinyl sheet flooring, adhesives, cement sheet, millboard, insulating paper, door gaskets in furnaces and stoves, soundproofing or decorative material sprayed onto walls or ceilings, patching and joint compounds, textured paints, cement roofing, shingles, siding, artificial ashes and embers for gas-fired fireplace, and older fireproof gloves, stove-top pads, ironing boards and hair dryers (1).  Unfortunately, since the 1970s, it has been determined airborne asbestos fibers from damaged asbestos containing materials can be inhaled and become permanently lodged into lung tissues (1).  If exposure to airborne asbestos fibers is prolonged or intense, in 20 or 30 years it can develop into lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, all of which are potentially fatal diseases (1). 

It is important to note that the United States Environmental Protection Agency recognizes that most people are exposed to asbestos fibers occasionally and suffer no ill effects, but that asbestos that can be easily crumbled, or has been sawed scraped, or sanded into a powder is far more likely to create a health risk (1).  For this reason, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends leaving undamaged asbestos containing materials undisturbed and check it regularly for deterioration (1).  However, when renovations or demolitions are planned, it often involves the destruction of asbestos containing materials, which could be harmful (1).  For this reason, it is important for facilities to get inspected before demolition or renovation begins in order to ensure that any asbestos containing material is properly removed and disposed of before it can cause a health threat (1).  While it is legal for homeowners to complete minor repairs, it is highly recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency that it should be done by a hired, certified asbestos worker (1).  All major repairs must be done by licensed asbestos handlers (1). 


Professional Asbestos Workers

To become certified to handle asbestos, individuals must complete content-specific training programs to the type of responsibilities the will have in relation to asbestos.  Ohio classifies asbestos workers into one of six groups: asbestos hazard abatement workers, asbestos hazard abatement specialists, asbestos hazard evaluation specialists, asbestos hazard project designers, asbestos hazard project designers, asbestos hazard abatement contractors, and asbestos hazard air monitoring technicians (3).  The course that each type of worker must complete is specific to their duties and responsibilities.  Asbestos hazard abatement workers are responsible for the removal, renovation, repair, or enclosure of an asbestos containing material greater than fifty square feet in a "non-supervisory" capacity; abatement specialists oversee asbestos abatement projects to determine compliance and performance; evaluation specialists identify, detect and assess asbestos containing materials and perform air and bulk sampling; project designers are responsible for overseeing abatement activities and determining the scope, work sequence and performance standards; contractors are business or public entities that engage in asbestos abatement; and air monitoring technicians determine air clearance, and perform air sampling (3).  Because of this broad range, the training regiments vary for certification.  Some of the topics that are required to be covered are definitions, applicability, emission control procedures, waste disposal work practices, reporting and record keeping, and asbestos hazards and worker protection (2). All of these require courses, exams, annual refresher courses, applications, and application fees ranging from fifty to two hundred dollars.  Fortunately, there are many approved training facilities in Ohio that train workers in all aspects of safety and regulations (3).

The Abatement Process

Currently, the State of Ohio does not have any special rules regarding asbestos abatement projects other than those laws set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in decontamination procedures, project containment procedures and asbestos fiber containment (3).  Ohio Administrative Code 3745-20 outlines some of the standards for demolition, renovation, and emissions control (4).

Except for possible exemptions, all owners of buildings that are to be demolished or renovated must remove all asbestos containing materials before any deconstruction begins that could damage this material (4).  When asbestos containing material is being removed from a building it must be thoroughly wetted to minimize the presence of dust, and all material must be carefully lowered the ground, instead of dropped, slid, or thrown to avoid any undue damage (4).  When necessary, leak-proof chutes may be used to drop materials down into containers (4).  During abatement, the contractor must provide a local exhaust and ventilation system that filters all asbestos fibers from the air and creates no visible emission, and removed material must be enclosed in airtight, leak-proof containers to ensure that there is no contamination following the removal (4).  No asbestos is to be handled in a facility that is regulated by the Ohio code, including public, industrial, institutional, or commercial buildings, unless trained contractors are present (4). 

Because of asbestos’ carcinogenic qualities, it is always recommended that only licensed, certified, trained asbestos workers handle asbestos removal. While it is not illegal for private homeowners to complete renovations without proper inspection and abatement, it does not decrease the threat that asbestos fibers can pose to those who live there.  Before beginning demolition or renovation on public, commercial, industrial, or institutional buildings, it is mandated that asbestos inspectors be hired to take samples and determine the content of asbestos.  Many private homeowners also choose to have their homes tested prior to demolition or renovation to keep their loved ones safe.  Fortunately, there are many certified asbestos workers, inspectors, and contractors available in Ohio who can investigate your specific circumstances and discuss your options with you.

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