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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

US EPA Report Calls For Better Regulation of Demolition of Asbestos Containing Buldings

The Inspector General of the US Environmental Protection Agency released a report calling for safer demotion of buildings containing asbestos fiber. Asbestos is a known cancer producing substance causing asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

"The AACM experiments show that under the EPA’s Asbestos NESHAP standard, the demolition of buildings that are structurally unsound and in imminent danger of collapse, and constructed with an asbestos-containing joint compound or Transite, can release significant amounts of asbestos into runoff wastewater. The untreated discharge of runoff wastewater can contaminate the soil at the site or the water into which it is discharged.

"The AACM experiments demonstrate that the amount of asbestos released into runoff wastewater can often exceed the legally reportable quantity for asbestos, which is 1 pound in a 24-hour period. As a result, the Asbestos NESHAP demolitions under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR § 61.145(a)(3) could require notification to the National Response Center in compliance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) § 103 if a reportable quantity is released into the environment. Upon a CERCLA § 103 notification, the EPA is tasked with determining the seriousness of the release and the need for an immediate response or cleanup.

"To be consistent with the CERCLA process where reportable quantity releases are occurring during Asbestos NESHAP demolitions, the EPA needs to assess the potential public health risk posed by these releases.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.