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Construction Depot

Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

December 14, 2016

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Construction Q&A – asbestos-containing material in wallboard and drywall

Q We will be removing wallboard and drywall in homes and other buildings slated for demolition.

If we sample the wall system as a composite and it comes back less than 1 percent asbestos, it is our understanding that the wall system as a whole does not have to be treated as asbestos-containing material.

But we've also been told that we should run wall system samples as both composite and individual layers, because even if the composite is less than 1 percent asbestos, if one layer tests greater than 1 percent, then Oregon OSHA requirements apply. Is this correct?

A You can do composite sampling to meet Oregon Department of Environmental Quality requirements; however, Oregon OSHA has never allowed composite sampling. Each separate material must be tested for asbestos content; if any of those materials have asbestos content greater than 1 percent, it must be treated as asbestos-containing material. Federal OSHA addresses the subject in this interpretation.

Note: Oregon OSHA's asbestos requirements still apply if you remove building materials that contain less than 1 percent asbestos. If there is any asbestos present in the material, you must to follow Oregon OSHA's work practice, clean-up, and disposal requirements. See Oregon OSHA's Asbestos fact sheet for more information.



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