|Asbestos remediation needs to be|
done properly to minimize health risks.
In fact, many construction workers may look the other way regarding possible asbestos violations, perhaps not comprehending the long-term ramifications of their inaction.
In Iowa, one inspector enforces U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asbestos removal regulations and oversees as many as 4,500 asbestos removal projects each year.
His job with the state’s natural resources department is primarily centered on protecting public health under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, also known as NESHAP.
Another asbestos inspector is part of the Iowa Division of Labor. That inspector focuses on worker protections under federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.
While the agencies frequently communicate and sometimes share information, the regulations they enforce are separate and often require separate reviews, officials from both agencies said.
City and county government officials are also responsible for assisting in asbestos oversight. State and federal regulations, for example, sometimes require an asbestos survey to be completed and those regulations may require removal of material that can become airborne prior to the issuance of a demolition permit.
A contractor’s complaint has prompted closer scrutiny of possible asbestos exposure involving workers at a downtown Des Moines renovation project, but an inspector doesn’t even visit hundreds of sites across Iowa each year where workers could face risks from the cancer-causing material.
The routine lack of asbestos-handling inspections at construction sites in Iowa and across the nation represents a widespread failure to protect the public, environmental safety advocates say.
In Iowa, one inspector enforces U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asbestos removal regulations and oversees as many as 4,500 asbestos removal projects each year. Another inspector must try to enforce federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration asbestos regulations.
Some say the number of OSHA asbestos inspectors in Iowa should increase to five or 10. Minnesota’s OSHA agency, for example, has 15 inspectors who are trained to sample and assist with asbestos investigations.
This article has been edited for length. Source: Des Moines Register
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