Michigan (MI) Asbestos Removal & Abatement Resources:

According to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health, asbestos is the name used to refer to a group of minerals that share the same insulating, acoustical, and fire protective qualities and includes Chrysotile, Amosite, and Crocidolite (2).  Because of the need to insulate buildings and properly protect them from fire, asbestos was commonly used in construction materials (2).  There are over 3,000 products that contain asbestos (2). Some of these products that Michigan lists are insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, spray-on insulation, boiler wrap insulation, and some electrical appliances, like toasters and hair dryers (2).  These can be widely found in all sorts of structures, from schools, to industrial buildings, to commercial facilities, to residential properties.  Unfortunately, asbestos also has a negative quality to it.  When asbestos-containing materials are damaged, the fibers can separate into tiny "needle-like" fibers, which can become airborne (2). Once the fibers are in the air, they can easily be inhaled into the lungs where they lodge into the lung tissue (2). The strength of these fibers that make it such a good building material also prevent the body from being able to break down the asbestos, so these fibers remain in the tissue permanently (2).  Eventually, if exposure is prolonged or intense, it can develop into lung cancer, asbestosis, or mesothelioma, which are all potentially fatal diseases (2).

Because these dangerous asbestos fibers are so commonly found in building materials, participating in renovations of demolitions could put individuals at risk, as destroying so much building material strongly increases the chance of high concentrations of airborne asbestos.  While it is not illegal for private homeowners to complete demolitions and renovations without notification, inspection, or abatement, regulated facilities, such as commercial, industrial, institutional, and public buildings, must follow strict guidelines both prior to, during, and after demolition or renovation (1). To ensure that these procedures are properly completed, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Air Division oversees the Asbestos National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants program.  The Department of Labor and Economic Growth also oversees all regulations that pertain to asbestos abatement and worker safety (1). 

Asbestos Professionals

All workers who are hired to handle or inspection asbestos, or manage asbestos projects are required to be certified by the state of Michigan (2).  These workers must complete courses that are specific to their jobs’ relation to asbestos and is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (2).  For this reason, the course content and intensity vary by how closely they work with asbestos and their level of responsibility.  Management planners must complete a 16-hour course, project designers and inspects must complete a 24-hour course, asbestos abatement workers must compete a 32-hour course, and contractors and supervisors must complete a 40-hour course (2).  All workers must take and pass an on-site, written examination, and inspectors, management planner, and project designers must complete meet work experience requirements before they can become certified (2).  Once certified, licenses expire in one year, so workers must complete annual refresher courses to keep them up-to-date on all of the newest safety regulations (2). All of this approved training makes asbestos professionals prepared to inspect and handle this carcinogenic material in a safe manner.  It is illegal to perform asbestos abatement, demolition, or renovation in regulated facilities without a license, and it is never recommended that private homeowners handle asbestos without the proper training (2).  When regulated buildings are inspected, it may be necessary to abate asbestos containing materials before demolition or renovation takes places.  Many homeowners voluntarily have their homes inspected before beginning large projects to ensure that they are keeping themselves and their loved ones safe.

Abatement Regulations

If large amounts of asbestos-containing material are found in a regulated facility, abatement must take place following strict procedures to minimize the amount of asbestos emitted into the workplace or environment.  If there are over 260 linear feet of asbestos containing piping, 160 square feet of other facility components, or 35 cubic feet of asbestos that is already off facility components where the length or area could not be previously measured, then the facility is subject to all demolition or renovation regulations (3).  If it falls under regulations, then all asbestos containing materials must be removed before any activity takes place that could damage or disturb the material (3).  To minimize the amount of asbestos fibers that can be breathed in, a local ventilation and collection system that eliminated particles from the air, a glove bag system to trap particles, and leak-proof wrapping must be provided (3).  To further maximize safety, other precautions must be made during the abatement procedure.  For example, all asbestos must be thoroughly wetted before being stripped and it must remain wet until it is placed in approved containers (3).  Also, asbestos-containing material must be carefully lowered to the ground, using leak-proof chutes when necessary to avoid unnecessary damage (3). After being removed, pieces of waste that have sharp edges or are small enough to fit into containers must be sealed into them, and larger pieces must be wrapped in airtight plastic with warning labels affixed (3).

After the abatement is completed, care must be taken to properly dispose of the dangerous waste.  All hirable Michigan contractors are trained in this type of waste removal procedures and can properly arranged for the waste to be transported in marked vehicle to approved dumpsites, where the material will be inspected before it is disposed of (3). If you are planning a demolition or renovation, even on your private home, it is always recommended to have an asbestos inspector test for asbestos containing material before putting your loved ones at risk.  If you plan to demolish or renovate a commercial, industrial, public, or institutional facility, you may be required to hire an inspector prior to the beginning of the project.  In either case, there are many asbestos professionals in Michigan who can serve your asbestos related needs.

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