By Mary Dohr
For many years the asbestos industry’s approach to handling vermiculite or vermiculite containing materials has been very inconsistent. This was largely the result of two issues: One, the mined material itself could either contain asbestos or not, depending on the actual geologic source of the material; and two, there was no widely accepted analytical procedure available for the determination of asbestos fiber content in vermiculite. As a result of these factors, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) issued a clarifying memo in June of 2012.
New York State’s vermiculite clarification memo said, in essence, that because no reliable method for asbestos determination in vermiculite, all vermiculite must be assumed to contain asbestos fibers, and therefore be handled as asbestos containing material (ACM). In addition, NYSDOH went on to say, any material containing 10% vermiculite or more must be treated as ACM, due to the same analytical limitations, with the potential to exceed the 1% asbestos fiber threshold set by New York State.
Due to the potentially large impact of such a declaration by NYSDOH, this rule received a lot of criticism by many parties. However, the only “amendment” that appears to have any significance is the FAQ document of August 27, 2012 issued by the New York State Department of Labor(NYSDOL). In that memo, the NYSDOL stated that for “recently installed” material, an MSDS or other product spec sheet certifying that only non-ACM was installed could be used “in lieu of bulk sample analysis” for material handling assessments. Unfortunately, this exception has little bearing on the vast majority of facilities with in-place vermiculite, and they are bound by the current NYSDOH rules.
The asbestos action plan that can save your next building renovation project.
Dealing with asbestos related problems can be a nightmare. All too often, building managers and business owners incur paralyzing project costs and assume unnecessary risk by believing a popular myth that “asbestos is a thing of the past”. Asbestos can still be found in homes, schools, and commercial or industrial buildings – damaging business reputations and bottom lines. Even after the ban of its use in the 1970s, some 30 million pounds of asbestos are still used each year in the US. Take control with a smart action plan before you begin your next renovation project.
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Justin Magee & Paradigm Environmental Services