skip to main content

Title: Asbestos in public and commercial buildings: A literature review and synthesis of current knowledge

The Health Effects Institute-Asbestos Research assembled an expert Panel to review the literature on asbestos in public and commercial buildings, and make recommendations for future research. The Panel concluded that: (1) Asbestos-containing building material (ACBM) in good repair is unlikely to expose general building occupants to fiber concentrations above those found outside such buildings. The added life-time risk of cancer for such occupants in well-maintained buildings appears to be lower than the risks from other pollutants such as radon and environmental tobacco smoke. (2) Janitorial, custodial, maintenance, and renovation workers may disturb or damage ACBM and episodically produce relatively high fiber concentrations; therefore the added life-time cancer risk in such workers may be appreciably higher than the risk to general building occupants. (3) Asbestos removal workers are at the highest risk of potential exposure. Good work practice and respiratory protection are essential to avoid dangerous exposure of such workers. (4) Determining exposure risks and forms of prevention or remediation warranted in a building are site-specific tasks. Uncontrolled disturbance of ACBM should be avoided. In well-maintained buildings, improper removal or improper abatement action can cause persistent increases of fiber levels.
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5409137
Report Number(s):
PB-92-167261/XAB
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Health Effects Inst., Cambridge, MA (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; ASBESTOS; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; HEALTH HAZARDS; COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS; INDOOR AIR POLLUTION; PUBLIC BUILDINGS; AIR POLLUTION ABATEMENT; AIR POLLUTION MONITORING; MAINTENANCE; PUBLIC HEALTH; REVIEWS; RISK ASSESSMENT; AIR POLLUTION; BUILDINGS; DOCUMENT TYPES; HAZARDS; MONITORING; POLLUTION; POLLUTION ABATEMENT 540120* -- Environment, Atmospheric-- Chemicals Monitoring & Transport-- (1990-); 290300 -- Energy Planning & Policy-- Environment, Health, & Safety; 320107 -- Energy Conservation, Consumption, & Utilization-- Building Systems-- (1987-)