Asbestos Text

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has, in the past, been added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.   

Health Issues: Asbestos is a proven carcinogen.  Breathing high levels of asbestos can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer in the lining of the chest and abdominable cavity), and asbestosis (lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue).  The risk of lung cancer is greatly increased if you smoke. Those who get asbestosis have usually been exposed to high levels for a long period of time.  The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.   

Solutions: According to the Maricopa County asbestos enforcement program, NESHAP, it is usually best to leave asbestos that is in good condition alone. Generally, material that is in good condition will not release asbestos fibers.  However, if removal is necessary, determine the amount of asbestos containing material. If the amount is 160 square feet, 260 linear feet, 35 cubic feet or more, it is regulated asbestos and must be removed by a certified contractor.  Take care to hire a professional asbestos contractor who is trained in handling asbestos material. The federal government has training courses for asbestos professionals around the country.  Some state and local governments also have or require training or certification courses. A list of professional contractors is available from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality or the EPA Regional office.  Visit the following link to learn the demolition guidelines as regulated by NESHAP, Removal of asbestos containing material that is smaller than 160 square feet, 260 linear feet, or 35 cubic feet, is not regulated by NESHAP.  However, the EPA recommends hiring a professional for all asbestos removal.  Visit for more information on asbestos removal and testing.  

Contact: NESHAP (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) (602) 506-6708.

The Maricopa County Department of Environmental Quality regulates waste removal in commercial building and multiple housing (apartments or when several single-family dwellings are affected). Contact them at 602-506-0380 or visit them at