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The Asbestos Abatement Program is responsible for ensuring abatement projects are accomplished safely and in accordance with the law; provides guidance, consultation, and enforcement to ensure compliance with the Oklahoma Asbestos Control Act.
The principle functions include:
The Division also administers an Environmental Protection Agency Grant to ensure proper manage of asbestos hazards in schools under the Asbestos Hazards Emergency Response Act (AHERA). Schools are audited to assure that all asbestos material within the facilities is properly contained ensuring the protection of students and staff from the hazards of asbestos.
Asbestos Background & History
Asbestos was used for many years as an effective insulating or sound dampening material. Examples of materials used included:
Thirty million tons of asbestos building materials have been used in the U.S. between 1900 and 1975. It would be a reasonable assumption, based on population, that one to two percent of this was used in Oklahoma, or between 300,000 to 600,000 tons. Eighty to ninety percent of this asbestos is probably still in place.
Asbestos became increasingly associated with adverse health effects, such as:
Asbestos is now recognized by federal OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), the National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a known human carcinogen.
Beginning in the early 1980's there has been considerable effort and expense to remove asbestos building materials from structures, especially from schools and other public buildings. The asbestos removal is primarily in the form of building interior demolition, which can create large quantities of asbestos dust.
Because asbestos is a lung hazard and only adversely effects people when inhaled, asbestos removal has been closely regulated by Oklahoma and most other states, and by the federal government through OSHA and EPA regulations. The principal agency for asbestos regulation in Oklahoma is the Oklahoma Department of Labor.