FAQs from the Public

Asbestos Frequently Asked Questions

What is asbestos and where is it usually found?

Asbestos is a very small fiber that cannot be identified with the naked eye. It has been used in thousands of commercial products because of its insulating and durable characteristics. Some common types of possible asbestos containing materials are pipe insulation, textured ceiling coatings, plaster, floor tiles, cementitious siding, and roofing shingles.

How do I know if a material contains asbestos?

Only certified professionals are allowed to take samples for laboratory analysis and only an accredited laboratory can positively identify asbestos containing materials. Contact a professional trained in asbestos regulations if you want a survey conducted for your building.

Will the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency check my building for asbestos?

This agency does not perform asbestos surveys. Contact a certified asbestos contractor for this service.

I have asbestos pipes in my basement. Can I remove the material myself?

If the pipe insulation is in good condition, and there is little or no chance of it being disturbed, it is probably best to leave it in place. If the pipe insulation is slightly damaged, it can usually be repaired or encapsulated using various methods. Often, there is less risk repairing the material than removing it. EPA does not regulate the removal and disposal of asbestos containing material from privately owned single family residences. However, if the material cannot be adequately repaired or encapsulated, we do recommend that some types of asbestos containing materials be handled by a licensed abatement contractor who is trained to properly handle the material.

I have asbestos floor/tile? Can I take it up myself?

Typically the removal and disposal of that type of asbestos containing material is not regulated by EPA (even commercially) if it is in good condition. If the material can be taken up with no significant breakage, there is little risk for fiber release.

My neighbors are having their asbestos roof/siding removed. Should I be concerned?

Typically the removal and disposal of this type of asbestos containing material is not regulated (from a commercial standpoint) if removed properly. If you feel the material is not being handled properly (for example it is being crushed, pulverized, reduced to powder, or broken extensively) contact your local EPA official.

Do I have to have a specialist remove asbestos?

If the asbestos is in an unregulated structure, it is not subject to the regulations and therefore a specialist is not required to remove it (see the section below titled "Who must notify" if you are unsure about what types of structures are regulated). If the asbestos is in a regulated structure, but is below the regulated amounts (260 linear feet, 160 square feet, 35 cubic feet of regulated asbestos containing material or any amount of Category I or II which remains in good condition), a specialist does not have to remove it. However, it is advisable to seek help from a certified professional when dealing with asbestos that can be damaged easily. If the asbestos is over the regulated amounts, a specialist must be contracted to remove it. If you are still unsure whether or not a specialist should remove the asbestos, please call one of the agency personnel listed below.

What is encapsulation?

Encapsulation means to coat, bind or resurface asbestos-containing materials with a product that will surround or embed the asbestos to prevent the release of fibers. Encapsulation is not suitable for all types of asbestos-containing material (ACM) and the decision to repair ACM with encapsulation should be made by a professional.

Is there asbestos in my child's school?

Asbestos is present in many buildings, both public and private, including many school buildings. If there is asbestos in your child's school and it is in good condition, it can remain in place without posing a threat to your child's health. Schools are required to have an AHERA (Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act) plan on-site which includes a survey documenting where all asbestos can be found in the building. The school is required to have an Operations and Maintenance Program and to have the asbestos evaluated on a regular basis to ensure it does not deteriorate and become a hazard. There are standard operating procedures for repairing or removing the asbestos if it does become a hazard. Contacting your child's school is the only way to know for sure if the building has asbestos in it and how they are maintaining it.

Whom may I contact if I have additional questions?

Contact Ken Wilkins at 513-946-7743, or Dawn Mays at 513-946-7758..