Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACM) and Demolition

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National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Asbestos

  • There are specific federal regulatory requirements that require the identification of asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in many of the residential buildings that are being demolished or renovated by a municipality.
  • There may also be state and local regulations that apply to the identification of such materials.

The NESHAP for asbestos apply to most demolition projects conducted by municipalities, counties and land banks.

The regulatory requirements were enacted to protect public health and welfare. They are good practices to follow, even if your demolition or renovation project that involves ACM in a residential building is not subject to the federal asbestos regulations.


For demolitions that are subject to the asbestos NESHAP, the regulation requires a thorough inspection before demolition or renovation begins.

The residential structures, or the portion of the structures that will be demolished or renovated, must be thoroughly inspected for the presence of asbestos, including Category I and Category II non-friable ACM.

Information gathered during the thorough inspection allows the owner or operator to determine which requirements of the NESHAP for asbestos will apply to the demolition or renovation project. What we have provided here is only a brief summary of some of the requirements of the asbestos NESHAP.

Learn about requirements of the asbestos NESHAP

The asbestos NESHAP may also apply to the municipal demolition of residences damaged by natural disasters and fires.

The asbestos NESHAP prohibits the reinstallation or installation of any insulating materials that contain commercial asbestos if the materials are either molded and friable or wet-applied and friable after drying. It is not recommended that other asbestos containing materials be reused.

Commercial Asbestos is defined in the regulations. It means any material containing asbestos that is extracted from ore and has value because of the asbestos content.

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EPA Guidance on Asbestos-Containing Materials (ACM) from the Applicability Determination Index (ADI)

EPA receives questions about whether or how the asbestos NESHAP regulations apply to a specific situation. EPA's answers to those questions are called "Applicability Determinations." They're available on the Applicability Determination Index (ADI), a searchable database.

Search the Applicability Determination Index (ADI)

Here is EPA guidance on the applicability of EPA's asbestos regulations to:

Other EPA asbestos guidance:

A relevant guide is Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's Asbestos NESHAP Regulations for Demolition and Renovation: A Guide for County and Municipal Building Services Departments and Owner/Operators of NESHAP Facilities (PDF)(8 pp, 96 K, About PDF)  ExitNovember 2011

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What kind of regulations apply to removal of asbestos from buildings and other structures?

  • Sign in a doorway reads Danger: Asbestos
    federal regulations
  • state regulations (generally)
  • local regulations (sometimes)

What do the regulations typically entail?

  • The regulations typically require that notifications be submitted to the appropriate government agencies before the work begins.
  • There is often a fee that must be paid to a state or local government agency.
  • Work practice requirements
  • Waste disposal requirements
  • Recordkeeping requirements
You should look at federal, state and local regulations to determine the requirements you must meet.
  • Requirements may vary from one location to another
  • Regulatory requirements of several government agencies can apply to a single project.

Where should I start?

Federal and state agency websites are a good starting point for determining the asbestos-related requirements that may apply at your location.

Asbestos accreditation

There are regulations that provide for the accreditation (also known as licensing or certification in some states) of people who do various types of asbestos work.

Although you may not be required to use an accredited worker for all municipal demolitions or renovations involving all kinds of residential structures (consult your local or state agency office that accredits workers for more information), it is a good practice to use accredited workers for all types of work involving ACM.

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