Hazardous Materials Abatement







Susan Robb
Industrial Hygiene Specialist

Rito Rincon
Industrial Hygiene Specialist

Frequently Asked Questions



Asbestos is a mineral fiber found in rocks. There are several kinds of asbestos fibers, all of which are fire resistant and not easily destroyed or degraded by natural processes.
Asbestos has been used in a wide variety of household and building materials, such as pipe and boiler insulation, floor tile and mastic, wall and ceiling materials such as decorative and acoustical plasters or tiles, and exterior siding and roofing materials. Asbestos was used in a product for one or more of the following reasons: (1) to strengthen the product; (2) for thermal insulation; (3) for acoustical or thermal insulation on surfaces; and (4) for fire protection.
The manufacturer, product literature or product labeling may identify the asbestos content. People with experience working with or evaluating asbestos-containing materials may be able to identify an asbestos-containing material by visual inspection. However, the definitive way to determine the asbestos content of a material is to have a qualified inspector sample the material and have it analyzed by microscopy in a laboratory qualified to perform asbestos analysis.
Asbestos has been shown to cause cancer of the lung and lining of the lung (mesothelioma), as well as other non-cancerous lung diseases. Some asbestos materials can break into small fibers, which can get into the air and be breathed in. Once inhaled, fibers can become lodged in lung tissue for a long time. After many years (15-40) asbestos-related diseases can develop.
No. A health risk only exists when asbestos fibers are released from a product or material and are present in the air for people to breathe. Soft, easily crumbled materials have the greatest potential for fiber release and therefore the greatest potential to create health risks.
No. Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos do not develop any health-related problems. Health studies of asbestos workers show however, that the greater the exposure to asbestos, the greater the risk of developing asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos exposure can be prevented by maintaining materials in intact and sealed condition. When asbestos must be disturbed, as in renovation and repair operations, a combination of engineering controls (containment and ventilation) and dust suppression methods (wetting and other work practices) can prevent exposure to building occupants and minimize exposure to abatement workers.
Asbestos-containing materials are no longer installed in UC Irvine buildings. In addition, many of these building materials are no longer manufactured or distributed in the United States (e.g., fireproofing, thermal insulations, sheet flooring and floor tile, etc.).
No. Regulations require that asbestos-containing materials be maintained in intact and sealed condition. Scientists say that managing asbestos in-place is a prudent approach to minimizing hazards posed by asbestos. However, any disturbance of asbestos requires trained and certified personnel, as well as the mandatory use of engineering controls and work practices to prevent or minimize exposure to asbestos.
No. People who work with asbestos must be trained and certified in proper asbestos abatement work practices. Asbestos workers must participate in a medical surveillance program and must be qualified and approved to use respiratory protection. Contractors must be licensed to perform asbestos abatement. In addition, all consultants who perform inspection and sampling, design abatement projects and monitor the performance of abatement must be specially trained and certified to perform this work.
UC Irvine hires licensed, qualified contractors to perform abatement work on campus. UC Irvine also hires certified independent consultants to oversee the work of the abatement contractor to ensure that all controls are adequately implemented. These consultants perform inspection and sampling on a regular basis throughout the duration of abatement activities and report results to building management and occupants.
Do not disturb the material in any way. Avoid cleaning or maintenance activities that may disturb the material. Notify your supervisor immediately. If it is necessary to clean or disturb the material, specially trained and licensed contractors should be utilized.
Fully trained and certified health professionals are available at Environmental Health and Safety to advise and assist you (4-6200)


For PMs, BMs, & MSOs

They are the governing body for Asbestos Emissions from Demolition/Renovation Activities.
Yes, however portions of the ban were overturned. Asbestos is still in use/imported from some countries.
All of Them. Rule 1403 (d)(1)(A) requires an asbestos survey, regardless of the structure age, prior to renovation/demolition to determine and the presence or absence of asbestos.
No. Only licensed and registered asbestos removal contractors are able to remove asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) regardless of square footage.
The Asbestos Abatement Contractor(s) that will remove asbestos and/or demolish the structure.
Yes. Notifications are due 10 work days (14 calendar days) BEFORE work starts.
Anytime. An inspector may visit your site any time before, during and/or after renovation/demolition/completion.
Yes. All asbestos-containing materials are required to be removed prior to demolition.
No. EH&S does not have a complete/comprehensive survey for any building on campus.
SCAQMD Rule 1403 requires that affected facility or facility component(s) be thoroughly surveyed for the presence of asbestos by a Certified Asbestos Consultant prior to any demolition or renovation activity.
Site specific surveys are required for each project. Surveys address materials that are to be disturbed by the renovation/demolition. When a survey request is received, if available, historical data/surveys are referenced and, if needed, additional sampling may be conducted.
Yes, but the exemption for assuming that a material is asbestos can only be exercised by a Certified Asbestos Consultant.
EH&S does not have keys for access. The Project Manager is responsible for providing access.
The Project Manager is responsible for hiring the Asbestos Abatement Contractor.
The UC Irvine Environmental/Hazardous Waste Group are the only person(s) who are authorized to sign a waste manifest at UC Irvine. For assistance, reference UC Irvine Construction Related Hazardous Waste document.
Contact UC Irvine EH&S at 4-6200 for an assessment.