Asbestos has been mined for more than 4,000 years, but came into widespread industrial use toward the beginning of the 20th century for its heat and fire resistance. The natural, fibrous mineral was used in building materials, brake pads, and other applications where heat and fire resistance was crucial. But the use of asbestos plummeted in the 1970s after the public began to learn about its severe toxicity to humans. As it turned out, the inhalation of asbestos fibers caused severe and sometimes-terminal illnesses such as asbestosis (scarring of the lungs), lung cancer, and mesothelioma (a particularly lethal form of cancer).
In addition to exposure from buildings and in certain occupations, California also has a substantial amount of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA). For instance, the entire town of Coalinga, where asbestos was once heavily mined and processed, received Superfund status from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
But while restrictions on the mining and industrial use of asbestos have greatly reduced exposure, the substance persists in aging buildings, mining sites, and other places throughout the country. Furthermore, those exposed decades ago are still discovering asbestos-related illnesses they didn't know they had.
Since asbestos can cause serious illness, and the fact that it still remains in heavily populated areas, its removal and handling is strictly regulated by both federal and state law.
California Asbestos Regulations at a Glance
|Asbestos Regulatory Agencies||
|Cal/OSHA Asbestos Contractor Registration|
|Asbestos Removal Regulations||
Conditions Triggering Registration Requirements:
Rules for work involving less than 100 sq. ft. of ACCM:
Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
California Asbestos Regulations: Related Resources
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