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Environmental Health Division
Asbestos Inspection and Assessment
What is an asbestos inspection and assessment?
An asbestos inspection is when an individual inspects a building or facility for the presence or location of asbestos-containing material (ACM) or suspected ACM. ACM is defined as material that contains greater than 1% asbestos. Suspected ACM is material that is assumed to be ACM, but has not been sampled and analyzed for asbestos content. An asbestos inspection also includes re-examining a building or facility to identify the presence or location of additional or existing ACM or suspected
An asbestos inspection and assessment does not include the following:
- Periodic surveillance in schools as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
- Visual inspections to determine if asbestos related work is complete; or
- Compliance inspections performed by an agent of a government agency.
When is an asbestos inspection or assessment required?
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) does not require an asbestos inspection and assessment to be conducted. If an inspection or assessment is conducted, however, it must be done according to MDH regulations. However, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the EPA do have requirements for when an inspection and assessment is required, such as before any renovation or demolition and also in schools.
Who can perform an asbestos inspection or assessment?
A person certified as an asbestos inspector by MDH must conduct all inspections and assessments.
How many samples are required to be taken and analyzed?
No sampling is required if the inspector suspects that the materials are ACM and treats them as ACM. However, for a suspect material to be classified as non-ACM, a minimum number of samples must be collected and analyzed. The following summarizes the minimum number of samples for collection and analysis. A homogeneous material is a material that appears to be uniform when properties such as age, color, and texture are compared.
Thermal System Insulation (TSI)
Thermal System Insulation includes materials such as boiler insulation, pipe insulation, duct work insulation, furnace gaskets and vermiculite.
- At least three (3) samples from each homogeneous material of TSI.
- At least one (1) sample from patched TSI that is less than six square feet.
- For pipe fittings, in a manner sufficient to determine if the material is asbestos-containing.
Surfacing material includes materials such as spray-applied fireproofing, troweled-on plasters or ceiling textures.
- At least three samples from homogeneous materials of 1000 square feet or less;
- At least five samples from homogeneous materials of greater than 1000 square feet but less than 5000 square feet;
- At least seven samples from homogeneous materials of greater than 5000 square feet.
Miscellaneous Material and Nonfriable Suspect ACM
Miscellaneous materials include all materials that are not TSI or Surfacing Materials, such as floor tile, ceiling tile and linoleum.
- For each homogeneous material, a sufficient number of samples are required to be collected and analyzed to determine if the material is ACM.
- Samples are not required to be collected from homogeneous materials that the certified inspector has determined to be nonasbestos-containing material, such as fiberglass or rubber.
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What about assessment?
If the asbestos inspector performs an assessment of the condition of ACM or suspected ACM, the inspector must provide a written assessment to the person requesting the assessment using the following categories or equivalent categories:
- Damaged or significantly damaged thermal system insulation
- Damaged friable surfacing material
- Significantly damaged friable surfacing material
- Damaged or significantly damaged friable miscellaneous material
- Asbestos-containing material with potential for damage
- Asbestos-containing material with potential for significant damage
- Any remaining friable or friable suspect asbestos-containing material
Where can an asbestos inspector have samples analyzed?
The asbestos inspector must submit samples for analysis to:
- a laboratory which is accredited by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) through the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP); or
- a laboratory with successful participation in the asbestos bulk analysis program of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)
The asbestos inspector must request a report from the laboratory that contains at a minimum:
- sample analysis results;
- the name and address of the laboratory performing the analysis;
- the date of the analysis; and
- the name and signature of the person who performed the analysis.
What must be included in an asbestos inspection and assessment report?
The written report must be provided to the person requesting the inspection. The asbestos inspection and assessment report must contain the following information:
- the location of each homogeneous material known or assumed to contain asbestos;
- if an assessment of homogeneous material is performed, the condition of each homogeneous material known or assumed to contain asbestos;
- the inspector's signature and date signed;
- the inspector's Minnesota asbestos inspector certification number; and
- a photocopy of the current asbestos inspector certificate ("hard card") of each asbestos inspector who performed the inspection.
MDH does not require that asbestos inspection and assessment records be retained for any specific length of time. However, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry and EPA do have requirements for maintaining such records.
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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