Tuesday, June 24, 2008

EPA Clarifies Miscellaneous Materials Sampling

Over the past several months in the asbestos refresher classes we have been talking about the clarification letter that the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) sent to all asbestos contractors and consultants back on November, 2007. This letter detailed a clarification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) regulation to a question from Mr. Christopher Alonge of the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) regarding the minimum number of samples that should be taken for miscellaneous materials. According to this clarification (follow link above for the PACNY letter and clarification), the minimum number of samples that should be taken of miscellaneous materials (i.e., floor tiles, roofing, caulk, ceiling tiles) is two. The original AHERA section covering sampling of miscellaneous materials indicates that the word used in this part of the regulation is "samples" indicating more than one.

Realize this is only an issue if you took one sample of let's say floor tiles, and based on the result (remember floor tiles are analyzed utilizing the nonfriable organically bound material method of analysis, requiring final negative results to be analyzed by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)) you said the floor tiles did not contain asbestos. The EPA clarification says that you needed another negative sample result to say the floor tiles did not contain asbestos. This issue obviously does not impact those of you who have been following our recommended procedure of taking at least three samples per homogeneous miscellaneous material. If you followed our recommendation you would have three negative results before declaring a miscellaneous material not absestos containing and would be in compliance with the clarification and the original regulation.

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