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Friday, March 14, 2008

Asbestos Discovered In Current Building Materials

Based on testing done by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organizations (ADAO) and announced at a press conference on November 28, 2007 it appears there may be a concern that new building materials may contain asbestos. The ADAO conducted asbestos testing on over 250 different household products utilizing Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) analysis in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency's test method 600/R-93/116. The link above gives you the detail of the methodology and results of the testing that included positive results for 5 products including Planet Toys "CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit", DAP "33" window glazing and "Crack Shot" spackling paste, Gardner Leak Stopper roof patch (which listed asbestos as an ingredient on the label), and Scotch High Performance Duct Tape.

Of the 5 products found to contain asbestos, 3 products are materials that are considered building materials. The window glazing, the spackling paste, and the roof patch are all materials that an asbestos inspector would sample to determine if these materials contained asbestos in a building built before 1980, but would ignore in a building built after 1980. The results from the ADAO testing found the window glazing contained 2.73% chrysotile and tremolite asbestos, the spackling paste contained 1.05% tremolite, anthophyllite, and chrysotile asbestos and the roof patch contained 15% chrysotile asbestos. All of these materials would be considered asbestos containing materials for an asbestos inspector, if they were sampled. Again, based on the typical opinion of the industry we wouldn't sample these materials after 1980. In fact, New York State uses a cut-off date of 1974.

This new information from the ADAO, obviously calls into question New York State's cut off date of 1974. If the above products still contain asbestos today, it probably means these products had asbestos in them between today and 1974 or 1980. As an Asbestos Inspector this information calls into question our assumption regarding the asbestos content of building materials in buildings after 1974. Since asbestos has not been banned, and it can still be found in building materials we are presently installing, this means we can no longer use the 1974 or 1980 date to determine whether building materials do or do not contain asbestos. This is one of the many reasons why ADAO has been lobbying for a complete ban on the manufacturer and the use of asbestos.

It is important to remember that though the New York State Industrial Code Rule 56 asbestos regulation does not regulate the assumption of asbestos in building materials after 1974, it does regulate the remediation of asbestos no matter the date of the building.

Monday, March 03, 2008

News from PACNY's Environmental Conference

As we previously discussed, I was attending the 12th Annual PACNY Environmental Conference. It was an excellant conference that brought out some new developments in the Abatement Industry. Mr. Christopher Alonge, PE of the New York State Department of Labor, was one of the presenters that most people were anxious to hear from and as usual he did not disappoint the attendees. What has become standard practice at this event Mr. Alonge gave those present some food for thought. First, Mr. Alonge announced a new Petition for an Asbestos Variance Form (SH 752) and the possible release sometime in 2008 of two new variances; "Mechanical fastening of items/components or systems - penetrating through non-friable ACM - Not considered an Asbestos Project" and "Small & Minor Size Asbestos Disturbance Cleanup Projects - to be used for cleanup of all types asbestos disturbances". This new Variance form should be on the DOL website this month (the form is currently on our discussion board website at ( Mr. Alonge also announced a new guidance document (v2.0) that should be on the website in the next few months that will have 120 new questions/answers added. Mr. Alonge is also in the process of working on a new ICR56 that will incorporate some Fire & Life Safety Issues (because of lessons learned at the Deutsche Bank Building tragedy) some examples include the use of fire retardant sheathing, negative air disconnect switch, and maintaining existing fire protection systems.
Another interesting presenter was Thomas V. Roberts, RA from NYS Education Department. Mr. Roberts informed us that NYSED developed "Protocols for Addressing Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Caulking Materials in School Buildings" in June 2007 ( This protocol is recommending that any school buildings constructed or renovated between 1950 and 1977 and undergoing current renovation or demolition, be evaluated prior to the renovation work to determine whether they contain caulk that is contaminated with PCBs. NYSED would require a PCB abatement plan be submitted with the renovation or demolition drawings addressing the potential environmental and public health concerns in abateing the caulk. If plans are submitted without the PCB evaluation, the plans will be rejected.
Maureen Cox, NYS DOL Director of Safety & Health, presented that DOL has seen a 12% increase in penalties collection this past year and would like to see Senate Bill 372 known as Successor Legislation, pass. The point of this legislation would be to prevent the owners of an asbestos abatement company from closing their business to avoid fines and then open under a new company to continue to do abatement work. The legislation would also increase the penalties and fines issued under the Industrial Code Rule 56.
PACNY introduced the PACNY Asbestos Proficiency Initiative, the purpose of this initiative is to create a certification that will be administered by PACNY that will establish another level of certification specifically for Project Monitors, Supervisors, and Project Designers. To be able to take the computer based certification exam, which will be offered through Slyvan Learning Centers, the individual must show three years of DOH 2832s. The exam will be given in two parts, part 1 will be a 50 question closed book exam and part 2 will be an open book scenario-based questions. PACNY Proficiency Certification (PPC) will require the accumulation of 20 hours of certification maintenance each year and the taking of a refresher exam also at the Slyvan center.
The conference as always was very interesting and exhibit had the usual suppliers Grayling Industry showing off the New Larger Pop-up Decon meeting NYS DOL requirements, and Cole Stanton from Fiberlock Technologies who discussed the revision to the use of chemical tools to the S520 standard from IICRC. IICRC stands for the The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification which publishes the S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. The new standard which should be out before the end of 2008, basically says that unique circumstances may arise allowing the consideration of antimicrobial coatings, or biocides.
The event is usually held at Turning Stone Casino and it appears that next year's event will be around the same time, we hope to see you there next year.

Chrysotile Asbestos Banned? More Like Certain Conditions of Use Will Be Eventually Banned!

Many of you, as did I, read about the " Ban of Chrysotile Asbestos " and rejoiced over something long overdue.  However, after rea...