Release 01-24      
July 27, 2001 


Jerry Martin
Gennet Osborn
Air Resources Board Approves Controls of Asbestos Dust During Construction and Mining

SACRAMENTO The California Air Resources Board today adopted rules that limit public exposure to asbestos-laden dust from construction and quarries sites.  The ARB's action follows revisions to the amount of asbestos allowed in rocks used for road surfacing and ornamental applications adopted in April.

Alan Lloyd, ARB Chairman, said, "The measures we adopted today will better protect Californians from the potential threat of cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.  As more people move into areas where asbestos containing rock is more common, the possibility of exposure increases."

The new rules require builders and miners to significantly reduce dust emissions when working in areas with asbestos-containing rock.  Construction sites of more than one acre would have to develop a dust control plan.  The required measures for construction and grading activities include using water to reduce dust during grading and excavation work, treating unpaved roads with water or chemical dust suppressants, and preventing dirt from being tracked out onto adjacent roads. In addition, quarries must control emissions from rock crushers, conveyors, and storage piles.

For construction sites of less than one acre, a dust control plan is not required.  However, water must be used to reduce dust. Also, dirt tracked out onto adjacent roads must be removed.

Dust control for small construction projects such as swimming pools is expected to cost less than $55, while dust control costs for new home development are expected to range from $200 to $500 per lot.  Only about one percent of all new home construction is expected to take place in areas where asbestos is likely to be found.

For mines and quarries, costs may range from $500 to $7000 during the first year and $0 to $2000 per year thereafter.  Statewide the rule is expected to cost between $600,000 and $1 million per year.

"Many local air quality districts in California already require some of these measures, the ARB's rule standardizes those measures into one consistent rule that can be used statewide," Alan Lloyd added.

The ARB identified asbestos as a toxic air contaminant in 1986, and regulated the use of asbestos-containing materials on unpaved roads and surfaces in July 2000.  The Board's action today reduces asbestos exposure from construction and mining operations.

Click here for more information about the ARB's asbestos program.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency.  ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.  The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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