If you hire a contractor they are required per the building codes to have asbestos testing done before they start any project. As of July 1, 2021, the MDH has tightened up their requirement for testing and contractors can be fined if they do no comply. Make sure they are licensed with the state of MN. All homes regardless of when the were built (even if they were built yesterday) have to be checked for asbestos. Remember, asbestos is NOT a banned material. It was only a 2 year ban that was lifted with few restrictions. Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) is still widely available today. See details below on the 1989-1991 temporary ban on asbestos.
See the MN Administrative Rule 7035.0805 Renovation and Demolition for more details on compliance.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes rules for asbestos abatement that must be followed by contractors who work on your house or commercial property. These rules keep the workers and you safe from exposure to asbestos. As mentioned above, asbestos is NOT a banned substance and is still imported and used to this day!
Below is a link to OSHA's website that gives details of what contractors must do when working on your project. If you have an insurance adjuster who says testing is not needed, you should point them to this information and the MDH info above.
Here are the specific rules to look at:
An employer or owner may demonstrate that PACM does not contain more than 1% asbestos by the following:
Having a completed inspection conducted pursuant to the requirements of AHERA (40 CFR part 763, subpart E) which demonstrates that the material is not ACM; or
Performing tests of the material containing PACM which demonstrate that no ACM is present in the material. Such tests shall include analysis of bulk samples collected in the manner described in 40 CFR 763.86. The tests, evaluation and sample collection shall be conducted by an accredited inspector or by a CIH. Analysis of samples shall be performed by persons or laboratories with proficiency demonstrated by current successful participation in a nationally recognized testing program such as the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) or the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) or the Round Robin for bulk samples administered by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) or an equivalent nationally-recognized round robin testing program.
The employer and/or building owner may demonstrate that flooring material including associated mastic and backing does not contain asbestos, by a determination of an industrial hygienist based upon recognized analytical techniques showing that the material is not ACM.
This excerpt was taken from the OSHA website:
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The following is just a short list of some common Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) found in homes.
As mentioned on the home page, asbestos is NOT a banned substance and is still in wide use today and the only items that do not contain asbestos are raw lumber, glass, fiberglass, metal.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned the use of only the following asbestos-containing products in new construction and renovation:
New uses of asbestos in products that have not historically contained asbestos, otherwise referred to as “new uses” of asbestos continue to be banned.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber mined from soil and rock. Dry asbestos can break down into dust, making it easy to become airborne and be inhaled. Activities such as taking up flooring containing asbestos or scraping off the texture from your ceiling, can release fibers into the air. Asbestos fibers are 1,200 times smaller than a human hair allowing them to get deep into the lungs.
Well, not really. In 1989, the EPA issued a final rule under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning most asbestos-containing products. However, in 1991, this rule was vacated and remanded by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Thus, most of the original ban on the manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce for the majority of the asbestos-containing products originally covered in the 1989 final rule was overturned.
Asbestos can cause lung cancer, and a rare type of cancer known as mesothelioma, which affects the lining around the lungs and abdomen. Mesothelioma is NOT dose related - ie: one small fiber getting into your lungs, one time can create this disease. All the other illnesses related to asbestos are dose related. Asbestos exposure can also cause a type of permanent lung damage known as asbestosis, which causes shortness of breath and increases the risk of serious lung infections. These diseases generally are not diagnosed for 10-40 years after encountering (exposure to) asbestos.
Asbestos fibers have special characteristics. Asbestos is used because it has tensile strength, is heat resistant and has a sound deadening quality, so it is used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation, as a fire retardant and in many vehicle parts. Chemicals do not affect it and it does not conduct electricity. Asbestos is also very strong. Pound for pound, asbestos is stronger than steel. Asbestos fibers are also very flexible, allowing them to be woven into cloth-like materials. This versatility is why industry has mined and widely used asbestos to make many different products.
Chrysotile, sometimes called white asbestos, is composed of wavy, flexible white fibers and comprises 90 to 95 percent of the asbestos used in the U.S.
Anthophyllite, Tremolite and Actinolite are three other types of asbestos. They were not commonly used to manufacture products. However, Tremolite contamination has been documented in Vermiculite attic insulation, and caution should be used when dealing with this material.
From 1938 to 1989, ore was processed at the Western Mineral Products plant located at 1720 Madison St. NE in Minneapolis, MN.
At this plant, raw Vermiculite was heated until the moisture trapped in the ore caused it to pop like popcorn. After going through this “exfoliation” process, the vermiculite was light and porous, making it suitable for insulation.
Some of the ore was left behind after it was heated. This waste material was known as “crush rock” or “stoner rock.” It was left in piles outside the plant and was free to anyone. We now know that this waste rock was contaminated with asbestos.
Talk to a professional who can help you stay informed.