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Asbestos Federal Laws are Complex and Confusing

Asbestos Federal laws are usually enforced under the watchful eye of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are aimed at limiting or eliminating asbestos materials exposure by citizens. If you want to do some of your own research into the various asbestos federal laws currently in effect, the EPA is a good starting point.

The Clean Air Act

The clean air act is a comprehensive federal law that actually addresses any kind of air pollution or contamination that is considered unhealthy to humans. The specific area that addresses asbestos issues is Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, which outlines the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) guidelines for Asbestos.

Asbestos federal laws are primarily aimed at making sure asbestos is handled properly at all times, and NESHAP is specific to this. These federal laws outline who is responsible for asbestos removal, how it must be done and who needs to be notified when asbestos will be disturbed on any job site. Topics that are covered in the Clean Air Act and NESHAP in particular include:

Asbestos Federal Law - U.S. Supreme Court Building
  • Proper disposal methods for any form of asbestos, including the importance of wetting down any materials in order to minimize asbestos dust.
  • The proper method of notifying local, state and federal authorities when demolition involving asbestos materials will take place.
  • The difference between EPA standards for asbestos removal and OSHA workplace standards. This is one of the trickiest areas of federal laws dealing with asbestos some safety legislation overlaps and can lead to confusion as to the proper handling and disposal of the material. This section clears up any conflicts.

Toxic Substances Control Act

This is the other primary federal law that affects most individuals who have been or are being exposed to asbestos in the workplace. The first section of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) focuses on the emergency response protocols required when it is discovered that a school contains asbestos. These rules fall under a sub-division of the TSCA known as the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA).

The TSCA also contains a section called the Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act (ASHARA), which outlines the safety rules for workers who are involved in the removal of asbestos from schools under AHERA. In part this federal law requires the use of accredited inspectors, supervisors and planners.

Because these laws and others, including those implemented by OSHA, are extremely complex and confusing, you should contact the EPA or an attorney specializing in asbestos issues if you have any questions about asbestos federal laws and asbestos litigation.

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