ABO Developments - Spring 2015 - (Page 17)

Asbestos Testing Is Back, Bigger and Broader BY D ON E W E RT I N DU S T R I A L H YG I E N I S T, R J L E E GROU P N ew York State Department of Health rules promulgated in July may require builders and remodelers in New York to repeat expensive asbestos tests on many projects and may lead to full abatement of surfaces that were thought to be safe. At the same time, New York City's Department of Buildings is refusing to issue new building permits for jobs where the "ACP 5 Not an Asbestos Project" notification form is based on a survey more than a year old. Combined, the new policies may lead to unnecessary abatement projects and involve jobs that no one would normally think of as asbestos abatement, such as simply removing a five year old sheetrock wall. To make things even more complicated, owners have two options for testing sprayon fireproofing, but no good options for testing anything else that might have vermiculite in it. The theory is that much of the vermiculite used in past decades, particularly in the Northeast, may have come from a mine in Montana contaminated with veins of asbestos. Vermiculite, unfortunately, may be found in spray-on fireproofing, "nonasbestos" insulation, sheetrock, acoustic tiles, concrete, plaster, and is even used as a soil conditioner in gardens. Essentially, every building renovation project could be covered by the rule, which is so far unique in the United States. New York's Department of Health is taking the position that any product tested with a vermiculite content greater than 10 percent has to be given a disclaimer stating, "This method does not remove vermiculite and may underestimate the level of asbestos present in a sample containing greater than 10 percent vermiculite," or be treated as if it were asbestos. The Department of Health has approved two tests to determine if vermiculite containing fireproofing has asbestos. One, called Lab 198.8, tests for the presence of any asbestos form, even though an estimated 96 percent of asbestos-containing vermiculate has an unregulated form of asbestos called Winchite/Richterite. If Winchite/Richterite is the contaminant, full abatement isn't required - but one of the approved tests cannot tell you. The other test, Lab 055.1 which is proprietary to RJ Lee Group, distinguishes the form of asbestos and can save owners and contractors from the most onerous abatement methods. Owners and contractors need to make sure their asbestos investigators are aware of the different testing methods for fireproofing materials, and opt for the more detailed analysis. Unfortunately, there is no similar test yet approved for the other products containing vermiculite besides sprayon fireproofing, so the mere presence of vermiculite could trigger city or state abatement requirements even if it is supposedly unregulated Winchite/ Richterite. Spring 2015 | 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABO Developments - Spring 2015

A Message from ABO Executive Director Dan Margulies
BuildingsNY 2015
Spring 2015 State Legislative Agenda Three Key Industry Regulations Up for Renewal
Energy Market Forecast: What it Means for Your Energy Buying Strategy
Asbestos Testing Is Back, Bigger and Broader
Index of Advertisers/Advertisers dot com

ABO Developments - Spring 2015