Asbestos management is very important because asbestos fibers are dangerous when inhaled. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they remain lodged in the body and can cause severe and fatal diseases, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Accordingly, asbestos management must be practiced to ensure that toxic asbestos fibers are not inhaled.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral useful for its durable, flexible, and virtually indestructible qualities. Between the 1930s and 1970s, asbestos was widely used in construction and consumer products, such as:
- building materials
- household items
Why Asbestos Management is Necessary
Many workers faced increased workplace asbestos exposure in the construction, insulation, and manufacturing industries. These workplaces were poorly ventilated and workers wore no protective clothing or respiratory gear. Due to this lack of asbestos management, many workers inhaled asbestos fibers and developed serious illnesses.
Typically, asbestos containing materials are non-friable, meaning they will only release asbestos fibers if they are cut, damaged, or disturbed. Therefore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that asbestos containing materials in good condition should be left alone. However, asbestos management is necessary when asbestos containing materials are damaged or producing dust.
Asbestos Management Methods
Asbestos management may require:
- asbestos testing
- asbestos abatement
- asbestos removal
Asbestos Testing: Certified specialists can test materials or products to determine whether they contain asbestos. This asbestos management method requires a specialized microscope which must be used in a laboratory. Asbestos testing determines if additional asbestos management is warranted.
Asbestos Abatement: This asbestos management method prevents asbestos containing materials from releasing toxic asbestos fibers into the air. Asbestos abatement may require sealing asbestos fibers to a material or building an enclosure around the asbestos. Asbestos abatement is the most frequently used asbestos management method.
Asbestos Removal: Asbestos removal is the most expensive asbestos management method because a certified, trained professional must perform the asbestos removal and the professional must take specific precautions to ensure asbestos fibers are not released during the removal process.
Mandatory Asbestos Management
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) of 1986 implemented mandatory asbestos management requirements for schools. The Act requires schools to inspect asbestos containing materials and to prepare an asbestos management plan. In the asbestos management plan, schools must detail how they plan to reduce asbestos hazards on school property.
Asbestos Management Information
If you would like more information about asbestos management, please contact us today. If you or a loved one has been injured by asbestos exposure, please contact one of our asbestos attorneys for a free case evaluation. You and your family may be entitled to compensation.