Technical Resources for Asbestos Exposure

Contamination of asbestos in your community may occur in any number of ways outside of naturally-occurring asbestos deposits in the environment. Asbestos fibers may become airborne through renovation or demolition of old buildings, for example, or contaminate soils and drinking water through spills or asbestos-containing pipes. In 1974 Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act, which established standards of pollutants in drinking water. Three years prior, the EPA identified asbestos as a hazardous pollutant and, in 1973, established the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. This was the first step in the complete banning of asbestos in dozens of countries including the United States and all member countries of the European Union.

Because asbestos was not banned until the 1970s, many buildings we use today, including schools, factories, and government facilities, contain asbestos in large amounts. Because of its array of applications and resistance to fire and biological and chemical degradation, asbestos was used in abundance in a wide range of industries. Many companies that mined, produced, or manufactured products containing asbestos dumped their waste into the natural environment for decades, unaware or simply disguising their knowledge of its damage. These sites, if they pose a risk to public health, are labeled Superfund sites by the EPA. Asbestos exposure attorneys encourage the public to research the Superfund sites, narratives of which can be found on EPA website.

The Technical Review Workgroup (TRW) Asbestos Committee is available to provide technical support for questions concerning the assessment, removal or remediation of asbestos contamination at hazardous waste sites. Questions may be directed as follows:

  • Send a question via e-mail to asbestoshelp@epa.gov
  • Call the toll-free TRW Hotline at 1-866-282-8622

The TRW website provides information regarding sampling, analysis, laboratories, risk assessment, presentations and training. The site has numerous PDFs available for under each category to assist those members of the public who wish to learn more about the Superfund sites.

Under the Sampling heading, EPA provides two PDFs and a video of a demonstration of an activity-based sampling (ABS) scenario to test for asbestos in the soil. One PDF is a presentation prepared by Brian Brass of EPA’s Environmental Response Team that discusses ABS, its advantages, application, and several case studies. The second PDF discusses the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Team’s standard operating procedure regarding asbestos.

The Analysis section offers nine links to various data entry sheets, methodologies, and asbestos determination sheets. The TRW Asbestos Committee is interested in feedback from the user community regarding the data entry sheets listed below. Please send any comments to asbestoshelp@epa.gov. Instructions and additional information are available at http://www.epaosc.org/asbestosdatamgmt. Two links are available under the Laboratories section, one to the National Institute of Standards and Technology and one to the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program, which provide information by state.

In the Risk Assessment section, information can be found regarding: guidance on calculating screening levels for asbestos in air, example risk assessment guide tables, asbestos risk-based concentration calculator, asbestos catastrophic situations guidance, and two links to Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology pages regarding asbestos assessment.

Presentations and Training provides a PDF that emphasizes confounding problems involved with asbestos analysis, the draft Superfund method for analysis of air and dust samples, counting procedures, and other related topics. Another PDF was produced by EPA’S TRW Asbestos Committee as a broad overview of EPA’s asbestos framework. The slides outline the framework and include asbestos definitions and morphology, asbestos sampling recommendations, examples of activity based sampling, asbestos laboratory analysis recommendations, and asbestos risk assessment recommendations.

These links, PDFs, and pages are intended to help demystify the EPA sampling analytical procedures, which can seem complex and fluid. The link to the technical resources page can be found here. Asbestos exposure lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm want to highlight the importance of public awareness of EPA methods, especially in those communities with asbestos contamination.

If you suspect exposure to asbestos and development of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, lung cancers, and asbestosis, contact one of our skilled mesothelioma attorneys today for a free consultation.

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