Surveys must be conducted by an AHERA-certified building inspector. You can find these inspectors listed in the phone book under “Asbestos Consulting and Testing.” You must share the survey results with your demolition contractor and anyone else who may come in contact with the material, and keep a copy of the survey on site.
AHERA stands for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. In 1986, the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA; Asbestos Containing Materials in Schools, 40 CFR Part 763, Subpart E) was signed into law as Title II of TSCA. Amendments to the act in 1994 mandated specific training and "accreditation" for all individuals doing inspection, project design, project supervision, and project work involving asbestos in schools, public and commercial buildings. An AHERA inspector is one who's obtained the AHERA Building Inspector accreditation.
With all the new laws and codes in place today Asbestos is still allowed in building materials and can be found in many products available at your local home improvement store. Sad thing is you most likely will not know it when you buy it and once it is installed you need to follow all State Law on removal and disposal of the materials. In some cases even pay for a licensed Asbestos contractor for removal.
A surprising fact for many Americans is that unlike other nations around the world, the United States has not yet banned asbestos. Asbestos is still being used today and looks to still have a strong future. Old mines are now up and running producings tons of Asbestos materials today. The EPA made know that Asbestos is a hazardous material in 1971.
So what products are banned from containing Asbestos?
If you have never seen vermiculite insulating an attic, you may have seen it in potting soil. Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral worldwide. When heated rapidly to high temperatures, this crystalline mineral expands into low density, accordion-like, golden brown strands. In fact, its worm-like shape is what gives vermiculite its name. The worms are broken into rectangular chunks about the size of the eraser on the end of a pencil. In addition to being light, vermiculite chunks are also absorbent and fire retardant. These characteristics make it great as an additive, for example to potting soil. It also makes a good insulating material.