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.

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