Asbestos is commonly found in fire-proofing applications, acoustical spray on ceilings, pipe insulation, resilient floor coverings, exterior sidings, calking, and roofing materials. Asbestos is known for its thermal properties, durability and was very commonly used up until the mid 1970s. In fact, an estimated 3,000 products have been manufactured that contain asbestos, and there is still no prohibition on the manufacturing or installation of these materials. Many believe that asbestos has mostly been removed when in fact, only a small percentage of the material has been remediated from buildings. Furthermore, the mineral is still actively mined and products produced with Asbestos in many countries including Russia and Canada. In peak demand times when sheet rock or other building materials have been imported, Asbestos Containing Material, has been used in more modern structures. In fact, abatement projects on buildings contracted in this decade have required remediation before remodels could be complete.
Regardless of when a building was constructed, regulated asbestos-containing materials must be removed prior to general renovation and demolition in accordance with specific government standards including those of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, Arkansas’ Department of Environmental Quality enforces the delegated NESHAP program, in addition to current state regulations. To ensure compliance and to mitigate liability, all buildings should be surveyed by a properly licensed inspector prior to any activity that could disturb asbestos fibers.