California Asbestos Regulating Agencies
When the toxicity of asbestos was discovered, California mesothelioma and asbestos laws were enacted, which gave rise to a new type of agency, the asbestos regulating agency. These agencies are responsible for ensuring that asbestos is adequately regulated and controlled in California. There are primarily three asbestos regulating agencies in California:
- The California Air Resources Board (CARB) which is responsible for regulating asbestos in air pollution control devices
- The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) which is responsible for setting exposure limits for asbestos in workplaces and other public places
- The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) which is responsible for regulating the use and disposal of asbestos-containing materials.
However, federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also play a significant role in asbestos regulation within California.
At the local government and county level, the health and safety divisions are tasked with enforcing state asbestos regulations to ensure that state or county residents are not inadvertently exposed to it.
When Was Asbestos Banned in California?
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the use of asbestos in 1989. However, this ban was overturned by a federal court in 1991. As a result, asbestos is still used in some products in the United States.
California has its regulations regarding the use of asbestos. The state began regulating asbestos in 1973, and it has continued to tighten these regulations over the years. As of 2018, California had some of the strictest asbestos regulations in the country.
While asbestos is not completely banned in California, its use is heavily restricted. For example, asbestos-containing products can only be used if no safer alternative is available. Asbestos is also allowed to be used in limited quantities and must be disposed of properly.
Despite these restrictions, some uses of asbestos are still allowed in California. For example, asbestos-cement pipes can still be used for water and sewer lines. Asbestos-containing gaskets and packings can also still be used in specific applications. However, these uses are carefully regulated to minimize the risk of exposure.
California Asbestos Regulations
California enacted several asbestos regulations These regulations cover everything from identifying and removing asbestos-containing materials to worker training and exposure monitoring.
One of California's most important asbestos regulations is the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). This act requires all public and private schools to inspect asbestos-containing materials and develop plans to remove or repair these materials.
The Asbestos Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) also requires businesses that use asbestos-containing materials to take steps to control exposure and protect workers and the public.
The State of California also has several other regulations that apply to specific industries, such as construction and shipbuilding. These regulations often require the use of particular asbestos removal and abatement procedures.
Other California statutes about asbestos use in the state include the Asbestos Portable Equipment Registration Act, the Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Act, and the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
What is the Role of Asbestos Regulators in California?
Asbestos regulators in California play an essential role in protecting the public from the dangers of asbestos exposure.
The following are five critical functions that California asbestos regulators fulfill regarding asbestos use and exposure:
- Reviewing and approving asbestos removal plans: All asbestos removal projects in California must be reviewed and approved by the state's asbestos regulators. This ensures that the removal is conducted safely and according to state and federal regulations.
- Conducting on-site inspections of asbestos removal projects: Asbestos regulators conduct on-site inspections of all approved asbestos removal projects. These inspections ensure that the removal is being conducted safely and per the approved removal plan.
- Investigating complaints of illegal asbestos removal or exposure: Asbestos regulators investigate illegal asbestos removal or exposure complaints. If they find that a violation has occurred, they may issue a cease and desist order or impose fines.
- Providing public education on the dangers of asbestos exposure: Asbestos regulators play an important role in educating the public about the dangers of asbestos exposure and the importance of following safe removal and abatement procedures.
- Enforcing penalties for violations of asbestos regulations: Asbestos regulators enforce the state's asbestos regulations, ensuring that those who violate the rules are held accountable.
Asbestos Regulatory Organizations in California
Several asbestos regulatory organizations in California work to protect public health and the environment from the dangers of asbestos exposure. These organizations include the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA), and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
CARB is responsible for regulating asbestos in the air, while Cal/OSHA regulates asbestos in the workplace. On the other hand, the CDPH is responsible for protecting the public from exposure to asbestos in various ways, including through education and outreach, monitoring and surveillance, and regulation of asbestos-containing products.
Other asbestos regulatory organizations include the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the Environmental Working Group (EWG), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The ADAO is a nonprofit organization that works to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure and provide support for those exposed to asbestos. The EWG is a nonprofit organization that works to protect public health and the environment from the dangers of asbestos exposure. The EPA is responsible for regulating asbestos in the United States.
What is California OSHA's Role with Asbestos?
The Cal/OSHA's role with Asbestos in California is to ensure that employers comply with the legal requirements for handling and working with asbestos. This includes ensuring that workers are properly trained in safely handling asbestos and that work areas are adequately ventilated to protect workers from exposure to asbestos fibers. Cal/OSHA also inspects work sites for asbestos contamination and can issue citations to employers who violate the law.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ensures that workers in the United States are protected from workplace hazards, including asbestos exposure. OSHA's role with asbestos began in 1971 when the agency issued its first standard for controlling exposure to dangerous fibers. Since then, OSHA has continued to update its regulations to reflect the latest scientific knowledge about the health effects of asbestos exposure and to ensure that workers are adequately protected from this known carcinogen.
California OSHA Asbestos Regulations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for protecting workers from exposure to asbestos.
OSHA's asbestos regulations are designed to protect workers from asbestos exposure. The regulations require employers to prevent workers from being exposed to asbestos. For example, employers must provide workers with protective clothing and equipment and ensure that work areas are properly ventilated.
Employers who violate OSHA's asbestos regulations can be fined, and workers who are exposed to asbestos can file a complaint with OSHA.
What is the Cal/OSHA Hazard Communications Program?
The Hazard Communications Program is a set of regulations and standards designed to protect workers from exposure to hazardous materials. The program requires employers to provide information and training to employees about the hazards of the chemicals they are using and establish procedures for handling and storing these chemicals safely.
The program is overseen by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA), and all employers in the state are required to comply with its regulations.
The Hazard Communications Program has three main components:
- The Hazard Identification System: Employers must identify the hazards of the chemicals they use and label all containers of these chemicals accordingly.
- The Training and Information Program: Employers must provide employees with information and training about the hazards of the chemicals they are using and how to work safely with these chemicals
- The Emergency Response Plan: Employers must have a plan to deal with emergencies involving hazardous materials, such as spills or leaks.
The Hazard Communications Program is an integral part of keeping workers safe, and all employers in California must comply with its regulations.
When and How to Contact OSHA in California
The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for safeguarding the health and safety of workers in the state. If a person believes that their workplace is unsafe or poses a health hazard, they can contact the OSHA to file a complaint.
Interested persons can contact the OSHA by:
- Calling their toll-free number at (800) 963-9424
- Visiting their website
- Filing a complaint online
When contacting the OSHA, complainants must be prepared to provide the following information:
- Their name, address, and phone number
- The name and address of their employer
- A description of the hazard or unsafe condition
- The names of any workers who have been injured or affected by the hazard
Requestors can also contact the OSHA to request an on-site inspection. An inspector will visit the workplace to assess the hazard and determine whether the employer is in compliance with OSHA regulations.
What is the EPA's Role with Asbestos in California?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a long history of regulating asbestos in California and across the country. The EPA's role with asbestos in California is to ensure that asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are properly managed and disposed of.
The EPA's regulations for ACMs are based on the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), which Congress passed in 1986. AHERA requires the EPA to develop regulations for identifying, labeling and disposing of ACMs. The EPA's rules for ACMs are located in 40 CFR Part 763, Subpart E.
In California, the EPA works with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to enforce asbestos regulations. CARB is responsible for regulating asbestos in air emissions, while the DTSC regulates asbestos in solid waste.
The EPA also works with local agencies to enforce asbestos regulations. Local agencies have the authority to implement the EPA's regulations for ACMs in their jurisdictions.
What is the Difference Between OSHA and EPA in California?
There are many differences between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in California. The most obvious difference is that OSHA standards apply to workplaces, while EPA regulations cover environmental pollution. However, there are other key distinctions between these two agencies.
For one, OSHA is a federal agency, while the EPA is a state agency. This means that OSHA standards are uniform across the country, while EPA regulations can vary from state to state. Additionally, OSHA covers all private-sector employers and employees, while the EPA's jurisdiction is limited to public sector employers and employees.
Another key difference between OSHA and the EPA is how they enforce their regulations. OSHA can issue citations and fines to employers who violate its rules, whereas the EPA relies on the state to enforce its regulations. Finally, OSHA deals with safety hazards, while the EPA deals with environmental pollution.
Despite these differences, both agencies play an important role in protecting workers and the environment in California.
What is the NIOSH's Role with Asbestos in California?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is responsible for conducting research and making recommendations to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. NIOSH also provides training and technical assistance to workers and employers.
NIOSH's role with asbestos in California is to provide information and recommendations regarding the safe handling and removal of asbestos. NIOSH also assists with the development of regulations related to asbestos.
California NIOSH Asbestos Regulations
California NIOSH's regulations include requirements for the use of personal protective equipment, work practices, and engineering controls to protect workers from asbestos exposure. NIOSH also requires employers to provide workers with information about the hazards of asbestos and how to defend themselves.
NIOSH also provides recommendations for reducing exposure to asbestos in the home. These recommendations include:
- Having the home inspected for asbestos before starting any renovations
- Using personal protective equipment, such as respirators and gloves, when working with or around asbestos-containing materials
- Avoiding disturbing asbestos-containing materials whenever possible
- Hiring a professional to remove asbestos-containing materials from your home if they are damaged or need to be replaced.
Who is Responsible for Asbestos Exposure in California?
The person deemed liable for asbestos exposure in California will vary depending on the circumstances. If the individual has been exposed to asbestos in the workplace, the employer may be held responsible. If the exposure has occurred due to asbestos products, such as insulation or construction materials, then the manufacturer of those products may be liable. In some cases, both the employer and product manufacturer may be held responsible for asbestos exposure. The government may be considered responsible if the exposure has occurred due to environmental contamination or if the exposure happened while on government property, or if the victim is a member of the military.
How to Dispose of Asbestos Containing Material in California
In California, ACM must be disposed of at an approved landfill or transfer station.
Before disposing of ACM, the inquirer must have it inspected by a certified asbestos inspector. The inspector will determine if the material is ACM and provide you with a Disposal Notice. When you drop off the material, this notice must be presented to the landfill or transfer station.
ACM can only be disposed of in special containers called "double-lined bags". These bags are available for purchase at most hardware stores. The ACM must be placed in the bag, and then the bag must be sealed with tape.
The ACM can then be taken to an approved landfill or transfer station. There is usually a fee for disposing of ACM.