Many homes built before 1990 used asbestos in insulation, tiling and other areas of the home. It was (and is) used extensively in public buildings. The idea is that undisturbed, asbestos presents little threat to the public. However, simple home renovation projects can kick up this potentially deadly and devastating carcinogen.
If you suspect or know that there are asbestos-containing materials in your home, it can be tempting to try to remove it quickly and cheaply without the expense of a contractor. However, asbestos removal is complicated and potentially harmful to contractors and residents if done improperly.
How Does California Law Affect Your Asbestos Cleanup?
California has strict laws and regulations regarding asbestos removal. These laws include:
- Only licensed contractors may perform Asbestos Abatement. It is your responsibility to verify a Cal/OSHA-Certified Asbestos Consultant or Contractor’s credentials and license information.
- This person must be independent from the related construction/building company.
- California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may not recommend one contractor over another.
- The contractor must use the proper Hazardous Waste Disposal methods (which may be at your expense).
What Will a Contractor Do?
The Cal/OSHA board has access to many asbestos removal consultants who can answer questions in person or over the phone about your situation. A consultant can help direct you to contractors who can perform the following duties:
- Building inspection
- Asbestos abatement (removal) project design
- Contract drafting
- Sample collection, clearance air monitoring (note, this may be done by an independent US EPA Region 9 State Air technician)
- Supervision of project
They may also lead you to contractors who you can choose to hire to remove the asbestos in your home as safely as possible. Be sure to carefully research and consider the following in a potential contractor:
- Professional experience
- Training and certification in the work they plan to do
- Environmental and professional compliance history
Asbestos removal is potentially dangerous and must be done carefully and methodically to protect air quality and community health. It can be complicated, but if you are determined to remove this product from your home no amount of red tape should stop you.