The Asbestos Agenda

by Paul Tarricone, Assistant Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 10, Pg. 48-51

Document Type: Feature article


Asbestos abatement business has been booming for years. The industry, though, is not restricted only to firms which do the removal. Companies who provide training, sell supplies and develop technologies are also reaping the benefits. Several factors—including EPA regulations, consolidation of firms and new technology—will likely shape the next round of abatement work. According to experts, EPA is likely to extend the Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act (AHERA) during the 101st Congress to cover at least a portion of the estimated 730,000 public and government buildings containing asbestos. Even in the absence of legislation, building owners, nervous about decreased property values and the potential of employee lawsuits will want to abate asbestos. These factors drive the market, but firms are consolidating and fewer will be doing the work in the future, according to experts. Since abatement work is highly competitive, labor-intensive and costly, firms are looking to develop labor-saving devices to help reduce manpower costs. These include computer software programs and the manhole abatement vehicle.

Subject Headings: Public health and safety | Government buildings | Asbestos | Environmental Protection Agency | Labor | Computer software | Industries | Training

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