The Thirty Years’ Update: EIA Publishes Revised Guide for Managing Asbestos in Buildings


Managing Asbestos in Buildings: A Guide for Owners and Managers, the recently published "revision" to the EPA's 1985 publication known as the "Purple Book" is an updated guidebook for owners of properties that do or may contain asbestos-containing materials. The Environmental Information Association, Inc. (EIA) recognized that the regulatory landscape relating to asbestos had changed over the last thirty years and volunteered to draft the publication after the EPA contacted it in 2009 requesting help. The EPA reported that budget and staff cuts prevented it from publishing an official update. The EIA agreed to step in and the book was published without any outside funding. The information within the new book contains significant revisions to the original EPA publication titled Guidance for Controlling Asbestos-Containing Materials in Buildings. Although it is not a technical document for asbestos control specialists or an official governmental document, it is an important resource that those in this field should be aware of.

The information contained in Managing Asbestos in Buildings: A Guide for Owners and Managers provides basic guidance to those without years of specialized training and experience. It was written by industry consultants in asbestos control and includes five chapters designed to walk the reader through the hazards and proper handling of asbestos in buildings. The revised EIA publication provides links to online resources including federal regulations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and EPA. The online access helps to ensure that the reader has the most up to date information on asbestos abatement methodologies and protocol. The book also highlights the importance of taking appropriate safety precautions around asbestos and the importance of inspecting a property prior to abating. A new chapter in the book is dedicated to the assessment of asbestos-containing materials with methods to help the reader understand the current and future potential for fiber release. The assessment protocols included within the chapter give the reader information to help inform effective asbestos management decisions. In addition, the book contains tables, references, and pictures for increased readability. All around, Managing Asbestos in Buildings: A Guide for Owners and Managers is a resource that those who own or manage buildings containing asbestos should consider consulting when faced with decisions about asbestos in buildings. As with any important decision, it is always best to rely on the currently effective statutes, regulations and official guidance statements before taking action. Moreover, be sure to determine the actual facts and the relevant law and document your compliance contemporaneously and permanently. We have seen many construction projects spiral out of control as asbestos regulatory compliance becomes a bargaining chip in a complicated dispute.

If you have any questions regarding asbestos regulatory compliance or the defense of asbestos claims, please contact Marisa Howe ([email protected]) or David Governo ([email protected]) for additional information.