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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.
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:
Symptoms can take up to 40 years to develop, all can lead to death, and each exposure increases your risk.
Although used in construction after the early 1980s, asbestos can still be found in many older buildings in the form of decorative plasters, fireproofing, flooring tiles, heating system insulation, joint compound, mastics, roofing, siding, vinyl sheet flooring, and wallboard.
Massachusetts requires anyone planning a project involving asbestos abatement, removal, or disposal to notify:
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, notifier, project 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.
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:
In some cases, you may instead need to apply for:
You may initiate any of these notifications or applications from Key Actions below.
See Additional Resources below for the Massachusetts Asbestos Waste Shipment Record Template. Haulers may use this to produce their own four-part forms so each party to a shipment of asbestos-containing material can be given a copy.
The MassDEP Asbestos Regulation (310 CMR 7.15) was last amended in June 2015. See Additional Resources below for:
See also the Material-Specific Information section at Managing Construction & Demolition Wastes.
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.
One Massachusetts landfill is currently permitted to accept asbestos-containing wastes:
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 in bordering states are
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.