Asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant. Businesses, such as construction and demolition companies, and those in the auto industry may encounter asbestos-containing materials.
Because of the dangers of asbestos:
- Avoid breathing asbestos-contaminated material (without proper equipment).
- Avoid touching asbestos-contaminated material (without proper equipment).
- Dispose of asbestos correctly.
For asbestos removal, businesses can contact the:
- Local clean air agency where work will be done for information about asbestos removal.
- Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for worker safety information.
Before renovation, demolition, or using a building for fire training (fire departments only), businesses must fill out the necessary forms and permits.
Not a business?
Contact your local clean air agency about asbestos removal, abatement, safety, and requirements for home renovation or demolition projects.
Where do you find asbestos?
Asbestos is primarily found in construction and building materials, but there are a wide variety of products that contain asbestos, such as:
- Building materials (roof shingles, siding, insulation, old linoleum, ceiling or floor tiles).
- Auto parts (brakes, spark plugs, mufflers, air conditioning, clutches, hood liners, gaskets, valves).
- Heat-resistant fabrics (blankets, firefighting gear, lab equipment).
Naturally-occurring asbestos is also found throughout the world, including Washington state.
When is asbestos hazardous?
Asbestos exposure can occur when asbestos is released into the air. This can happen when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed through:
- Product use.
- Construction and demolition.
- Regular home or building repair.
- Renovation or remodeling.
- Natural events that disturb asbestos deposits in the environment, such as those in Swift Creek and Sumas River (Whatcom county).
Why is asbestos hazardous to health?
When released into the air, asbestos can stick in your lungs and cause serious illness over time:
- Mesothelioma (a type of cancer that may form in the lungs, abdomen, or heart).
- Asbestosis (a type of lung disease).
- Other types of cancer.
- Other health complications.
Is asbestos banned?
No. Asbestos is not banned. Materials made and used today may still contain asbestos.
How do businesses safely handle asbestos?
Many industries may involve workers coming into contact with asbestos. These industries include:
- Automotive industries.
- Construction, demolition, renovation.
- Hospitality (hotels, motels, etc.).
- Other industries.
If your business handles asbestos, contact the:
- Local clean air agency where you intend to do work for guidance about asbestos removal.
- Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for information about asbestos licensing and working standards.
Contact your local clean air agency for guidance about your safety and responsibility related to asbestos removal or verification before proceeding with any home renovation or demolition projects.
Apply to demolish, renovate, or burn a building with asbestos
Businesses that plan to demolish, renovate, or are a fire department that wants to burn a building that contains asbestos for fire training, must submit certain forms and permits before doing so.
- Learn more about EPA's renovation and demolition requirements