Asbestos

Frequently Asked Questions

These are common questions asked by homeowners and regulated parties relating to asbestos-containing materials. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) hopes the following will assist you in your questions and concerns regarding asbestos issues.

Homeowner Questions
How can I tell if anything in my house contains asbestos?
Where can samples of a building material be tested for asbestos?
Will MDH do an inspection of the asbestos abatement work being done in my home if I call and ask?
What does MDH regulate in a residence?
How do I hire a contractor to do work in my house?
Is just having asbestos-containing material in my home a health risk?
What are the health symptoms if you've been exposed to asbestos?
How do I find out if the insulation in my attic is asbestos containing?

Regulated Party Questions
How much can I or the company be penalized for improper asbestos-related work?
What state agency regulates what? Who do you call for what?
What constitutes an emergency? What work can be done as an emergency project?
How do I notify for an emergency project?
Can I fax in an original permit notification and cost verification and mail in the check for the 1% fee?
How do I get a contractor license?
What do I need to become certified in an asbestos related discipline?
How long does it take to get my hard card?

Homeowner Questions

How can I tell if anything in my house contains asbestos?

There are over 3,000 building products and other items that contain asbestos. But the only way to determine if a material is asbestos-containing is to have that material sampled by a certified asbestos inspector and analyzed by an accredited asbestos laboratory. MDH recommends that you contact an asbestos consulting firm to conduct any sampling for you.

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Where can samples of a building material be tested for asbestos?

MDH recommends that samples be submitted to an analytical laboratory that is accredited by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) through the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) or which successfully participates in the asbestos bulk analysis program of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).

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Will MDH do an inspection of the asbestos abatement work being done in my home if I call and ask?

No. MDH does not schedule individual inspections. Inspections are conducted on a random basis or if there is a specific complaint about asbestos work which is regulated by MDH.

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What does MDH regulate in a residence?

MDH regulates the removal (abatement), encapsulation or enclosure of friable asbestos-containing material in amounts greater than 10 linear feet, 6 square feet or 1 cubic foot. MDH does not regulate the removal of asbestos-containing flooring, ceilings, siding or roofing materials in a single family residence.

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How do I hire a contractor to do work in my house?

Contractors may be found on the Find a Contractor or Consultant website. Once you choose a contractor, the Hiring an Asbestos Contractor page has more information on what you can expect from an abatement contractor conducting work in your home.

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Is just having asbestos-containing materials in my home a health risk?

No. Just having asbestos-containing materials in your home is not a health risk if the materials are in good condition. Damaged asbestos-containing materials can become a health risk if no actions are taken. The Asbestos in Minnesota Homes page has more information on this.

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What are the health symptoms if you've been exposed to asbestos?

There are no immediate health symptoms from asbestos exposure. If you have disturbed one of the materials identified as potentially containing asbestos or have been associated with the disturbance of those materials, you may have been exposed to asbestos. More specific health information can be found in Asbestos Health Effects.

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How do I find out if the insulation in my attic is asbestos containing?

MDH recommends that you contact an asbestos consultant to inspect the attic for you. The consultant you choose should have a certified asbestos inspector on staff to conduct the inspection. The firm will submit any samples that are collected to an analytical laboratory for testing. If the material does contain asbestos, MDH recommends that it be left as is and that is not disturbed. If remodeling or renovation is conducted any asbestos-containing material that would be disturbed by these activities should be removed prior to any work starting. A licensed asbestos abatement contractor is required to conduct the removal of the asbestos-containing material.

More information on vermiculite attic insulation can be found under Vermiculite Processing Operations in Northeast Minneapolis.

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How do I find out more information?

For more information about asbestos, contact the Asbestos Program at MDH through the internet or by telephone at (651) 201-4620.

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Regulated Party Questions

How much can I or the company be penalized for improper asbestos-related work?

MDH has the authority to penalize individuals and companies up $10,000 per investigation for improper asbestos work.

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What state agency regulates what? Who do you call for what?

Three state agencies regulate asbestos work in the State of Minnesota. They are the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (MNOSHA), and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). More information can be found on the Asbestos Programs in Minnesota web page.

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What constitutes an emergency? What work can be done as an emergency project?

Officially, an emergency is a project which was not planned but results from a sudden, unexpected event whose consequences, if not immediately attended to, present either a safety or public health hazard or would damage the facility or facility components. For more information, visit MDH's Emergency Project web page.

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How do I notify for an emergency project?

If the emergency occurs after MDH business hours, on holidays or weekends, fax the notification to MDH at 651-201-4606 and mail in the cost verification and 1% permit fee within five days. You may then proceed to conduct the emergency work.

If the emergency occurs during MDH business hours (8:00 A.M.-4:30 P.M., M-F), call MDH at 651-201-4620. Inform MDH staff that an emergency permit notification is being faxed/dropped off. MDH will then issue the permit for posting at the work site as required by Minnesota rules.

More specific information on emergency projects can be found on the Asbestos Notification web page.

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Can I fax in an original permit notification and mail in the check for the 1% fee later?

No. MDH must receive a completed permit notification and 1% fee all at one time. MDH will return incomplete submittals to the licensed contractor.

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How do I get a contractor license?

The Asbestos Contractor License website describes the requirements to obtain an asbestos contractor license in Minnesota.

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What do I need to become certified in an asbestos related discipline?

The application process for becoming certified is the same for all disciplines. Experience requirements vary from discipline to discipline. The Individual Asbestos Certification website explains the certification process in Minnesota.

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How long does it take to get my hard card?

Allow two to three weeks to receive a new hard card. The number of certifications and recertifications MDH receives affects the amount of time for processing. Incomplete or illegible submittals will be returned to you.

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How do I find out more information?

For more information about asbestos, contact the Asbestos Program at MDH through the internet or by telephone at (651) 201-4620.

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Updated Wednesday, 28-May-2014 10:25:48 CDT