State’s standards fall below federal minimum levels.
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Oregon’s rules for asbestos have fallen below federal minimum levels.
It ranks last place in having rules that protect people from the building product that has been proven to cause cancer.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires contractors to give fair warning before demolishing any commercial, industrial or major residential building. The requirement is designed to ensure asbestos is safely removed before buildings come down. If asbestos isn’t removed, workers or passers-by risk breathing the mineral’s airborne fibers and contracting a fatal lung disease decades later.
State and federal regulators throughout the country adhere to the requirement for pre-demolition reporting, documents and interviews show.
But Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials only requires contractors to notify them if they plan to remove asbestos from a condemned building, not if they believe they don’t have to look for it or looked and didn’t find any.
A previous investigation by the Oregonian has prompted the state to look into its practices.