Asbestos is a fibrous natural mineral once used in a variety of building materials. It is known to cause lung cancer and respiratory diseases. MassDEP regulates abatement, construction and demolition projects that involve asbestos.
Guide MassDEP Asbestos, Construction & Demolition Notifications
Table of Contents
News & Updates
MassDEP interim procedures for requesting asbestos emergency waivers issued in January 2021 no longer apply, with the COVID-19 public health emergency having ended.
The agency amended its Asbestos Regulation (310 CMR 7.15), and updated its asbestos cement pipe guidance
See MassDEP Regulations, Policies & Guidance below to learn more about these changes.
Asbestos & Health
Asbestos is a naturally occurring, mostly fibrous mineral that has been used in a variety of building products and industrial settings over the years because of its resistance to heat, fire, and many caustic chemicals.
The physical properties that give asbestos its resistance to heat and decay are also linked with a number of adverse human health effects. Asbestos tends to break apart into a dust of microscopic fibers that remain suspended in the air for a long time. When inhaled, these fibers can cause:
- Asbestosis, a chronic lung condition that makes breathing progressively more difficult.
- Cancer, most frequently of the lungs.
- Mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the chest and abdominal membranes.
Symptoms can take up to 40 years to develop, all can lead to death, and each exposure increases your risk.
Although seldom used in construction since the late 1980s, building materials that contain asbestos are still legal to sell. They can be found in structures of all ages in various forms: decorative plasters, fireproofing, resilient flooring, heating system insulation, wallboard joint compound systems, mastics, roofing, exterior siding, and more.
Additional Resources for Asbestos & Health
Asbestos Regulation in Massachusetts
Massachusetts requires anyone planning a project involving asbestos abatement, removal, or disposal to notify:
- The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) at least ten (10) working days, and
- The Department of Labor Standards (DLS) at least ten (10) calendar days before beginning work.
In addition to notifying these state agencies, you should check with the board of health, building inspector, and fire department in your town or city to determine whether you need to notify them or obtain any local approvals before beginning work.
Use the Asbestos Project Lookup under Key Actions below to search for notifications filed with MassDEP by community, project ID and dates, location address, and more.
See the MassDEP Asbestos Information & Resource Guide in Additional Resources below to learn more about state and federal regulatory requirements and find answers to common questions about asbestos.
Additional Resources for Asbestos Regulation in Massachusetts
MassDEP Online Filing & Forms
Ten (10) working days (excluding weekends and holidays) before starting work, you are required by the MassDEP Asbestos Regulation (310 CMR 7.15) to submit to the agency:
- An Asbestos Notification for any project involving asbestos abatement, removal, or disposal.
- A Construction/Demolition Notification for any C&D project, except in a residential building with fewer than 20 units.
In some cases, you may instead need to apply for:
- An Asbestos Blanket Notification Approval, which provides flexibility for immediate abatement, long-term or large-scale removal work, or incidental maintenance where significant amounts of asbestos are present.
- A Non-Traditional Asbestos Abatement Work Practice Approval which, under very specific conditions, allows you to deviate from normal work practices - with strict health, safety, and environmental requirements.
You may initiate any of these notifications or applications from Key Actions below.
See Additional Resources below for:
- Emergency Waiver Request Procedures for Asbestos Abatement & Demolition Projects, which explains how MassDEP regional offices consider requests to waive normal notification timelines when work meeds to be done on an emergency basis.
- Massachusetts Asbestos Waste Shipment Record Template, which haulers may use to produce their own four-part forms so each party to a shipment of asbestos-containing material can be given a copy.
Additional Resources for MassDEP Online Filing & Forms
MassDEP Regulations, Policies & Guidance
The MassDEP Asbestos Regulation (310 CMR 7.15) was last amended in July 2019. See Additional Resources below for the full regulation and related guidance documents.
See also the Material-Specific Information section at Managing Construction & Demolition Wastes.
Additional Resources for MassDEP Regulations, Policies & Guidance
Department of Labor Standards Information
The Department of Labor Standards (DLS) regulates occupational asbestos exposure in Massachusetts. The agency also licenses asbestos removal contractors, analytical laboratories, and training providers.
See Additional Resources below to learn more.
Additional Resources for Department of Labor Standards Information
Disposal of Asbestos-Containing Material
One Massachusetts landfill is currently permitted to accept asbestos-containing wastes:
- Waste Management Fitchburg/Westminster Sanitary Landfill
165 Fitchburg Road (Route 31)
Westminster, MA 01473
Some out-of-state landfills and transfer stations are also permitted by their state’s environmental agencies to accept asbestos-containing wastes generated in Massachusetts. Two such facilities in bordering states are:
- Waste Management Turnkey Landfill
90 Rochester Neck Road
Rochester, NH 03839
- RED Transfer & Logistics
173 Pickering Street
Portland, CT 06480
Before taking asbestos to a landfill or transfer station, contact the facility to determine if, when, and under what conditions the facility will accept the material. Asbestos abatement contractors licensed by DLS can be hired to remove asbestos and take it to an approved disposal facility. Asbestos wastes may not be sent to a combustion facility or construction and demolition (C&D) material processor.
Intact and unbroken vinyl asbestos tile (VAT) and asbestos containing asphaltic roofing and siding material that are removed in accordance with MassDEP regulations may be managed as solid waste and disposed in any MassDEP-permitted solid waste landfill.