Why is it necessary to test for the presence of Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) prior to demolition or renovation?

Testing is required by the Federal Government and State of Massachusetts when performing demolition or renovations. The MassDEP Asbestos Regulation 310 CMR 7.15(4) requires that prior to any demolition or renovation activity, the owner/operator must engage an Asbestos Inspector, who has been certified by the Department of Labor Standards (DLS), to conduct a thorough inspection to identify the presence, location, and quantity of any asbestos containing material (ACM) or suspect ACM (310 CMR 7.15(4)) that may be present in the area to be worked on.

Is this a new law?

No, however awareness and enforcement of the law has increased in recent years.

Does the age of the building matter?

No, even brand new building materials and structures must be tested. Please note: the age of the structure makes no difference, a survey is required no matter the age of the structure.

How many samples are needed and are the number of samples related to the square footage of the building?

The minimum number of samples is set by State and Federal guidelines and is dependent on the type of ACM being sampled, (thermal, surfacing or miscellaneous). Samples must be collected by a licensed inspector who maintains chain of custody until the samples are delivered to an independent lab for testing.

Has Asbestos been outlawed?

Many materials used today still contain asbestos. See links below for information on asbestos containing building materials that are still legally sold in commerce. In 1989, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tried to ban all forms of asbestos from use in the USA. But that regulation was overturned by the 6th circuit court of appeals a year or two later (ca. 1991). Since then, asbestos has been legally sold in commerce in numerous household products. You can check the US EPA website or the US Consumer Protection Agency website for more information about what products still contain asbestos. You’ll also find some information about health effects and what to do if you find asbestos products in the home. Please refer to the following URL links: www.epa.gov/asbestos www.cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-guides/home/asbestos-home.

How long does it take to get results?

24 hours on average, but it can be as quick as 3 hours.

How do I know the abatement was done properly?

Final clearance testing is required and conducted by a licensed independent third party company.  An independent third party may also be used for abatement oversight.