Pennsylvania Asbestos Regulations

Asbestos was once a popular building material on account of its excellent insulating and fire-retarding qualities, but later study revealed that exposure can cause terrible chronic illness and death. As a result, asbestos is highly regulated on both a state and federal level. As with other states, Pennsylvania regulates asbestos use and handling in an attempt to protect the public and workers from exposure that could lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other health conditions.

Pennsylvania Asbestos Regulation Overview

Pennsylvania has adopted the federal Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) standards regarding the use, handling, and disposal of asbestos. The following is an overview of Pennsylvania asbestos laws:

Statutes Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 63, Professions and Occupations (State Licensed), Chapter 35, Asbestos Occupations Accreditation and Certification Act, Section 2101 et seq.
Asbestos Occupation Certification

Anyone engaging in any asbestos occupation must be properly certified for that occupation by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The DEP sets training requirements and accredits the training courses required for certification annually and establishes a written exam that must be passed prior to certification.

The DEP's regulations are required to be at least as stringent as the EPA's under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986 or those established for occupations under the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants.

Contractors whose business can reasonably be expected to include asbestos removal must be licensed for these activities by the DEP and are required to notify the department at least five days from the start of any asbestos abatement project.

Penalties

The DEP may reprimand, suspend, deny, or revoke any accreditation or certification to any person who:

  1. Fraudulently or deceptively obtains or attempts to obtain accreditation or certification;
  2. Fails to meet the qualification requirements at any time;
  3. Fails to meet any applicable Federal or State standard relating to asbestos abatement;
  4. Fails to pay the required accreditation or certification fees; or
  5. Fails to notify the department as required.

A person found to have engaged in unlawful conduct may be fined $100-$1,000, plus the cost of prosecution, and imprisoned for 10-30 days.

A willful violation such as falsifying documents constitutes a misdemeanor in the third degree for the first two violations and can result in a fine of up to $1,000, the cost of prosecution, and imprisonment for up to 90 days.

Each subsequent violation is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, the cost of prosecution, and imprisonment of up to one year.

In addition to the other penalties the department may levy a civil penalty of up to $1,000 a day for an initial violation and not more than $5,000 a day for subsequent willful violations arising within a three year period.

Note: State laws 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.

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If you have become ill as the result of the presence of asbestos, or because of its improper removal, a lawyer can help you seek compensation for your injuries. They can also demand that landlords remove dangerous materials from your home without charging you for the removal, or help you ensure that your asbestos removal project complies with local requirements. Contact a local attorney for a free initial claim review to learn how they can help you demand a healthy living environment.

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