Risk Management Services

A Unit of the Business Affairs Division

Asbestos Facts

It is not necessary to remove all asbestos containing materials from a building to assure a safe workplace. EPA recommends a practical approach that protects the health of building occupants. This approach includes locating and identifying asbestos materials in buildings, and proper management of the material.

The following summarizes the five major facts that EPA has presented in congressional testimony.

  • FACT ONE: Although asbestos is hazardous, human risk of asbestos disease depends on both the amount and duration of exposure.
  • FACT TWO: Based on available data from across the nation, prevailing asbestos levels in buildings appear to be very low. Accordingly, the health risk faced by building occupants also appears to be very low.
  • FACT THREE: Removal is often not a building owner's best course of action to reduce asbestos exposure. In fact, an improper removal can create a dangerous situation where one did not previously exist.
  • FACT FOUR: EPA only requires asbestos removal in order to prevent significant public exposure to asbestos, such as during building renovation or demolition.
  • FACT FIVE: EPA does recommend in-place management whenever asbestos is discovered. Instead of removal, a conscientious in-place management program will usually control fiber releases, particularly when the materials are not significantly damaged and are not likely to be disturbed.